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6 tips on finding a Montessori preschool for your child

By Anitra

 

Are you interested in finding a quality Montessori preschool for your child?  There are many things to consider when searching for a Montessori school for your child.  It is not an easy feat to entrust your child and their safety & well being to others.  It is important for you as a parent to feel comfortable, confident, and trust in the place where you will leave your child.  It is also equally important for your child to feel safe, be happy, and feel welcomed to a place where they will spend a good amount of their time.

 

 

With that being said, please know that not all preschools, schools or child care centers are created equal.  Things to consider are school philosophy, program type, extracurricular activities offered, location and price.  There are also other things to look into as well; considering each Montessori school is privately owned and operated.  The Montessori name, method, philosophy, teachings and materials are not trademarked.  Each Montessori school owner has the right to interpret the Montessori method and philosophy as they see fit.  Which means that two Montessori schools right down the street from one another can have many similarities, and just as many differences.  For more information on what makes Montessori unique, please check out my post What’s so special about Montessori…? EVERYTHING!.  If you would like more information in the work and materials in a Montessori classroom, please check out my post What is all the hype about? A detailed look inside a traditional Montessori classroom.

 

When you are ready to begin looking at schools to choose, first start with an internet search of local Montessori schools in your area.  Narrow it down to no more than 5 schools.  Look through their websites, check out any online reviews they may have, and call the school for additional information on their enrollment process.  Once these things are complete, you are ready to incorporate the tips below in selecting a school for your child.  I have included a free checklist at the bottom of the post as well!

 

These 6 tips will help you select the right Montessori school for your child

 

Tip #1

Visit and tour the school(s) you are interested in

It is important for you to go to the school and tour the facility.  During the tour, the school administrators should walk you around the entire school and the playground as well.  Take special note of the cleanliness of the school overall and the condition of the playground & equipment.  The school should look appealing to the eye, and the playground should have safe, child appropriate equipment & toys.  If anything catches your attention or stands out, be sure to ask the administrator about it.

 

 

 

Tip #2

Ask about the schools philosophy

Of course the main philosophy of the school will be the Montessori method.  But each school has a separate school philosophy on how they view early childhood education.  It is important to ask about how they deal with behavior problems, if they are religiously based, and most importantly, their take on how children learn and develop.  See if they follow authentic Montessori practices such as the 3 year age span, allowing children to be independent, and providing a child based environment.  Make sure that their school views are similar to your own personal views on what you expect for your child.

 

 

 

Tip #3

Ask to observe a classroom in action

While on the tour of the schools, most administrators will show you a classroom in action.  Seeing a classroom in full swing will give you a small idea of how the children move throughout the environment, if they seem comfortable in the classroom, and how the teacher(s) interact with the children.  Look for any clues of children being excluded,take notice of the teacher’s tone of voice, and watch to see how they children interact with each other.  In a true Montessori classroom, the children move about freely & confidently and seem engaged in their work with a buzz of conversation happening around them.  The teacher(s) are engaging and interacting with the children in a positive, respectful manner.

 

 

 

Tip #4

Ask administration about teacher turnover rates

In the child care industry, Teacher turnover rate can be common and can be higher than in other professions.  This occurs for a number of reasons, but when a school can retain their teachers for more than two years, that is a positive sign.  If teachers stay for extended time at a particular school, it may be due to the school being supportive of their staff and their needs.  When schools value their teachers, and the teachers feel needed & important, they tend to stay at a school for a longer period of time.  Ask the school administrator how long their teachers have been at the school.

Tip #5

Ask neighbors, friends and co-workers about the school

The best way to get an accurate review or opinion on a school you’re interested in is to ask around.  Ask your neighbors where they send their children, ask friends and co-workers if they have had any positive or negative experiences with a school you may want to tour.  Let’s face it; if you’re interested in trying a new restaurant, you reach out to others to get their opinions about the restaurant.  So why not do the same for a school you may be interested in sending your child too?  You can never be too safe when it comes to your child.

 

Tip #6

Check to make sure the school is licensed with the state

Every child care center, preschool, or day care center providing care to children in a business capacity should be licensed in some form or another by the state they are conducting business in.  Here in California, EVERY child care center, preschool, day care center or home day care MUST be licensed by the state in order to operate.  Each child care facility goes through a rigorous checklist of standards BEFORE they are licensed.  They are also subject to frequent inspections from the state at any time.  California has an online database of all licensed care providers that are licensed in the state.  By simply going to the state website, you can enter in the name of the child care facility you are interested in, and get detailed information about that facility.  Such things as licensing date, licensee name, any violation of state standards they have received, and the amount of children they are allowed to have at the facility.  This information is public knowledge, and available at all times.

 

 

Following these tips can definitely help in finding the right Montessori school for you and your child!  I always say that I don’t just have the child in my classroom, but the entire family as well.  It is important for you as a parent to be able to interact, communicate, and mesh well with the school and the teacher.  You must feel welcomed and part of the overall school community in order for you and your child to have a great experience!

 

 

Interested in getting the FREE checklist for Selecting a Montessori Preschool for Your Child?

It’s yours, just click below for your FREE download!

 

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Comments

  • Lisa

    January 13, 2018

    Our youngest went to an in-home Montessori preschool. We were so blessed by this program. Not only did my little one thrive, she had the best, most loving teacher we could have asked for!

    reply to Lisa
  • Dawnmarie

    January 9, 2018

    These are excellent tips for finding the right school. Thank you for sharing them. My husband and I agreed that if Montessori were and option, we would have tried it for our son.

    reply to Dawnmarie
  • Monica

    January 7, 2018

    I would love to send my daughter to a Montessori school. I hear such great things. Asking about teacher turnover rate is a great tip I wouldn’t have thought of. Like duh! lol. Will keep these in mind for the future, thank you.

    reply to Monica
  • Dee

    January 6, 2018

    Great tips. We have one real Montessori school in Miami and it is one of the most expensive schools in South Florida and very far from me. I wish it was more accessible.

    reply to Dee
  • Chantel

    January 6, 2018

    Very good considerations for choosing any school! My kids are beyond preschool years, but we will be choosing high schools soon. Thanks for the tips!

    reply to Chantel
  • Kesha

    January 6, 2018

    My husband and I have been discussing Montessori education for our son. His former school provided it but the one he is at now doesn’t. These are some great tips to help in our decision process.

    reply to Kesha
  • Maggie

    January 6, 2018

    I never would have thought to ask teacher turnover rates, but that definitely tells a potential parent a LOT about the school in question (and NOT just preschool!) Thanks for the post!

    reply to Maggie
  • Nicolette

    January 5, 2018

    A supportive school environment is so important for our kids’ development. Thank you for these thoughtful tips!

    reply to Nicolette
  • shanna

    January 5, 2018

    oh teacher turnover rates is a great thing to know!

    reply to shanna
  • Karen

    January 5, 2018

    My children went to Montessori schools and we loved them. We homeschooled later in their school career.

    reply to Karen
  • Gina Shirley

    January 5, 2018

    Wonderful tips and information

    reply to Gina Shirley
  • Melina

    January 5, 2018

    Great tips! Asking about turnover rates can be very telling of a school!

    reply to Melina
  • Melissa

    January 5, 2018

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

    reply to Melissa
  • Jennifer

    January 5, 2018

    Great list. This is very helpful for anyone exploring preschools. It can be such a hard choice for parents.

    reply to Jennifer
  • Amie

    January 5, 2018

    I love the idea of the Montessori method. Thanks for sharing!

    reply to Amie
  • Deanna

    January 5, 2018

    Excellent tips, especially #3. So much can be learned through observation. I always assumed that all Montessori programs were the same. I guess I was misinformed.

    reply to Deanna
  • Clay and Hannah

    January 5, 2018

    This is a great list! Very Helpful we have chosen to homeschool our children but we have thought about switching our younger ones to Montessori school!

    reply to Clay and Hannah
  • Heidi

    January 5, 2018

    This is great tips for moms looking for such a school! 🙂

    reply to Heidi
  • Kristen

    January 4, 2018

    I never thought about asking to observe a classroom. Great idea!

    reply to Kristen
  • Christy

    January 4, 2018

    This is great information for parents on the search for a preschool. I’ve seen some really wonderful Montessori preschools and some truly terrifying ones in my day. It all comes down to due diligence as a parent, touring the school more than once at different times of day, and trusting your gut!

    reply to Christy
  • ElizabethMillerSliwa

    January 4, 2018

    Great tips. Although we usually do preschool at home, I LOVE the concept of Montessori. I would definitely say that our structure plan is loosely based, Montessori. Lots of hands on, nature, science, exploring, books… Lovely post.

    reply to ElizabethMillerSliwa
  • laura Belle

    January 4, 2018

    I looked into all our local Montessori schools when my kids were younger and I loved them. I couldn’t come up with the money for them to go though so I ended up homeschooling. I really wanted them to go though.

    reply to laura Belle
    • Anitra

      January 4, 2018

      Hi Laura Belle! Yes, unfortunately Montessori schools can be very expensive.

      reply to Anitra
  • Verla

    January 4, 2018

    Although my kids are grown, I find I enjoy reading your well written posts. When researching Montessori schools years ago, I did find that they varied from one another – as you confirm. And a checklist! Valuable information here.

    reply to Verla
    • Anitra

      January 4, 2018

      Thanks for the kind words Verla! Montessori schools are SO different, and it helps to find a good fit for the child and family.

      reply to Anitra
  • Jenny

    December 30, 2017

    Hi!! I enjoyed this! Great advice! It is so important to pick the right school when we are parents, and it is a very through process, but well worth it! 💗

    reply to Jenny
  • Valerie

    December 30, 2017

    This is all great information! We are on to looking into kindergarten 😩 can’t believe it! next year is going to be so hard !

    reply to Valerie
  • Diana

    December 29, 2017

    We are a few years away from even thinking about preschool, but these are some great tips for finding a preschool in general! I never thought to ask about discipline!

    reply to Diana

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