COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS OF MONTESSORI
Montessori is just for preschool children.
While the majority of Montessori schools in the United States are preschools, Montessori programs exist at age levels from birth through high school.
Montessori is just for special learners—the gifted or the learning-disabled.
The methods used in Montessori schools are highly effective with both learning-disabled and gifted learners; the reason for their effectiveness, however, is that the learning environments have been designed to ensure success for all children.
Children in Montessori classrooms are relatively unsupervised and can “do whatever they want.”
Montessori is based on the principle of free choice of purposeful activity. If the child is being destructive or is using materials in an aimless way, the teacher will intervene and gently re-direct the child either to more appropriate materials or to a more appropriate use of the material.
Montessori classrooms are too structured.
Although the teacher is careful to make clear the specific purpose of each material and to present activities in a clear, step-by-step order, the child is free to choose from a vast array of activities and to discover new possibilities.
Montessori is against fantasy; therefore, it stifles creativity.
The fact is that the freedom of the prepared environment encourages creative approaches to problem-solving. Fantasy play initiated by the child is a wonderful aspect of the classroom and a joy to observe, creative story telling and play is an extension of the academics that they are developing. In addition art and music activities are integral parts of the Montessori classroom.
Montessori classrooms push children too far too fast.
In a real Montessori Classroom children are not pushed, they are encouraged to explore, question and create. What is happening through this freedom, is a developing a Love of Learning within each and every child. The advanced academics are a bonus; A wonderful, awe-inspiring bonus, but a bonus none-the-less. The “miracle” stories of Montessori children far ahead of traditional expectations for their age level reflect not artificial acceleration but the possibilities open when children are allowed to learn at their own pace in the specially prepared environment.