Montessori: where's the controversy?

Filed under: Development/Milestones: Babies, Day Care & Education

I've come to really love Alex's little toddler school.  She's been attending the school for going on a year, and she can't get enough of it -- she has quite a fondness for the teachers, and every morning she asks if she can "go to school" -- even on the days she doesn't have to go.  The teachers are gentle with the children, and every time I visit Alex at the school, every child is extremely well-behaved, happy, and in control.  It's been a real Godsend.

Come September, however, Alex will be "graduating" from her little toddler school to full-on "preschool" (assuming that her potty training continues to move on target).  The school she attends has a preschool on its tiny campus, and Alex's teacher suggested that I speak with the director of the preschool to let her know I was interested in Alex joining it.

I spoke with the director today, and she was warm and welcoming.  "I recommend that you come over and take a look at the school before you make your decision," she said.  "Perhaps when the term begins again after Easter, when you drop Alex off at the toddler school, you can come see what we do."

"I'd like that," I responded.  "Thank you."

"Also," she continued, "you need to know that we're a true Montessori school.  So you might want to look that up on the web, so that you can get a good idea of what that means, and prepare any questions you might have for me and for our methods."

Again, I thanked her, and I've taken her advice:  I've been looking at Montessori education in earnest.  I'd heard that Montessori methods were quite controversial, but everything I'm reading -- "Montessori educational practice helps children develop creativity, problem solving, social, and time-management skills, to contribute to society and the environment, and to become fulfilled persons in their particular time and place on Earth," says the International Montessori Index -- seems to indicate that it's a wonderful way of teaching kids.

What am I missing here?  Have you had any experience in the Montessori Method?  And are there any questions that I should make sure to ask the director when I meet with her next?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.