Is your child getting ready to start kindergarten this year?
If you have a child who is getting close to kindergarten age, you might be wondering whether you should send them to public kindergarten or consider a different approach, such as a Montessori kindergarten. Perhaps you didn’t even know there were other options beyond traditional kindergarten that could give your child a head start in the next step of their education. After all the advantages we’ve seen with children attending a Montessori kindergarten, it’s important to explore other alternatives to public kindergarten to choose the best path for your child.
There are benefits to all types of education, but attending a Montessori kindergarten can be a better option for many children.
If you're having a hard time deciding whether to send your child to a Montessori or public kindergarten, or if you need help choosing the right school, keep reading.
Listed below are some questions to ask yourself before choosing the best kindergarten for your child.
1. What Does My Child Need?
When it comes to choosing a kindergarten, this ought to be the first question you ask.
Does your child learn independently? Do they thrive in a non structured environment? Do they thrive on working on a skill that is important to them at the moment? Would you prefer if they were in an environment that taught them how to love learning?
If the answer is yes, attending a Montessori kindergarten might be a better option.
Montessori schools are often the best place to do this and ensure they're educated in a way that teaches a love of learning.
2. What Are My Goals for My Child?
Think, too, about the specific goals you have for your child. What do you want them to get out of their kindergarten education?
Do you want them to start learning things like reading and counting? Do you want to make sure they have access to enrichment programs for music and art? Do you want them to learn another language?
Identify your goals for your child early on. That way, you can sort through your options and narrow it down to the schools that will meet those goals. Montessori schools will almost always offer extra enrichment programs like language, yoga, music, and more.
3. What Specific Programs Do They Offer?
Ask about the specific programs each school offers before you make your decision.
Will your child have the opportunity to learn other languages and practical skills like cooking? Will they have access to activities like yoga that help them to build a better mind-body connection?
Montessori schools often place a greater emphasis on these types of programs, so they can be a better option if you want your child to experience less traditional types of learning activities.
4. What Experience Do the Teachers Have?
It's essential that you consider teacher training when choosing a school for your child.
Teachers at public kindergartens must have at least a Bachelor's degree. Montessori teachers require additional training from either the Association Montessori International (also known as AMI) or the American Montessori Society (also known as AMS).
Whether you're considering a public kindergarten or Montessori kindergarten, find out what training the teachers have. Then, verify that their diplomas are legitimate.
5. How Does Your Child Interact During The Tour?
You should always take a tour of a school before you enroll your child. If someone tells you that you can't take a tour, that's a major red flag.
If possible, try to take a tour during regular school hours, too. That way, it'll be easier for you to see what kinds of activities and learning opportunities the school offers.
Bring your child along as well. This will help you better gauge whether the school is a good fit for them.
6. What Are The Teacher-Child Interactions Like?
During your tours of different schools, pay attention to the way the teachers and children interact with each other.
Do the teachers seem happy and engaged in what the children are doing? Do they get down on the children's level and work with them one-on-one?
These are good signs that your child will get the right kind of care and attention they need to thrive while they're away from you.
7. How Long Have the Teachers Worked There?
Find out how long the teachers have been working at each school you're considering, too.
Consider how long the school has been open as well. Schools that have been around for a while are often a better option than ones that are brand new.
8. What is the Environment Like?
During your tour, pay attention to the classroom environment. Does it seem like a warm, nurturing place? Are there plenty of toys and books that seem age-appropriate for your child. Does it nurture their learning style?
Montessori classrooms have an especially unique feel to them. You can tell as soon as you walk in whether it's a Montessori classroom based on the way the materials are laid out.
You should see lots of natural materials made of things like wood, as well as lots of handmade materials that help children to concretize difficult concepts.
Pay attention to the way the classroom is laid out and take note of what you see before you decide that a particular school is right for your child.
9. Do They Provide Individualized Education and Care?
One of the main reasons Montessori education yields better outcomes than traditional schools is the emphasis placed on individualized education.
It's important for your child to be treated as an individual if you want them to learn and progress.
When you're taking a tour of the school, be sure to ask what the teachers do to ensure each child gets the individualized attention and care that they need.
10. Are There Opportunities for Outdoor Play?
Outdoor play provides tons of benefits to young children.
It helps them to feel happier and less anxious. It promotes better behavior at home and in the classroom and even helps them to sleep better.
Be wary of schools that don't seem to allow for a lot of outdoor play. They might not be good for your child's long-term success and well-being.
Keep in mind that Montessori kindergartens tend to provide more opportunities for outdoor activity than public kindergartens.
Need More Helping Choosing a Kindergarten?
As you can see, there are a lot of factors you need to consider when it comes to choosing a kindergarten for your child.
Be sure to keep this information in mind if you're having a hard time choosing between a Montessori school and a public school and need help making the right decision for your child.
If you want to try a school that checks all the boxes and meets the criteria listed above, Sandwich Montessori is the school for you.
For the last two decades, we've made it a priority to provide children with a high-quality, well-rounded educational experience. Contact us today to learn more about our teaching methods or to schedule a tour.