Kindergarten: The Icing On the Cake
This post is for the primary families (although the families of older students who read it will readily agree and support the points below - ask them when you have a chance!). Some of you were originally drawn to Montessori because you’ve read about how different and special the approach is. Some of you were looking for a high-quality daycare or preschool and stumbled upon us.
There are a plethora of reasons families choose to send their children to Montessori schools. The vast majority of those families are thrilled with their decision once they see how their child is nurtured, encouraged, and celebrated in our environments.
Something interesting tends to happen sometime around when the child approaches kindergarten and first grade.
Families feel the pull of traditional schooling. They begin to worry that the differences that make Montessori so wonderful just won’t cut it when it comes to preparing their older child for life. They may have excellent public school options available to them.
It can be hard to go against what you did as a child, or what your family or friends are doing for their children. And we fully recognize that the decision is incredibly personal.
What we can tell you is that many families who choose to leave Montessori before their child enters kindergarten end up returning.
We can also tell you the three-year cycles in our environments are intentional, and there are some great reasons to give your child the gift of that third year.
Feeling on the fence? Hopefully we can help clarify some of the reasons we think kids do best when they have the opportunity to complete their primary cycle.
Mastery of Skills
The third year in a primary classroom is a chance for students to really shine academically. Everything they have been working on comes full circle and their understanding of concepts solidifies in a way it couldn’t have until now.
Much of what we teach in the earlier years of our primary environments is indirect and direct preparation for the lessons our third years receive and the materials they work with.
Not only are our kindergarten children understanding concepts in new ways, but they can actually demonstrate this knowledge. Educators from all backgrounds will agree that when a person is able to teach someone a skill, they have themselves demonstrated mastery of the skill. Our classrooms are designed so that older students help to teach younger ones. This teaching serves multiple purposes, one of which is to demonstrate their own understanding.
One of the many benefits of the multi-age classroom, our kindergarteners really enjoy taking on the role of giving lessons to their younger peers.