Why is it so important to continue my child in the kindergarten year at a Montessori school? In the Montessori environment, the child is presented with endless opportunities to develop all his/her senses and his motor skills with the aid of self-correcting materials in a prepared setting. During the third year a child can not only work with these materials in more depth, thus gaining more insights from them, but, using this base, can move into the academic areas.
Next, having learned from older children, shared with his peers, and helped those younger than him self, he has the opportunity to assume leadership within his class. Having established critical learning habits – concentration, self-discipline, and a sense of order, persistence in completing a task, creative self-expression and a love for learning – the child can have these behaviors reinforced in a supportive exciting environment.
All preparations for later academic work and for social and emotional development, which have been so carefully nurtured in the three and four-year-old child are reinforced in the kindergarten year. As one parent put it, “Everything my child had learned up to then seemed to fall into place, and he was ready to meet other challenges once he had this foundation.”
Won’t it be easier for my child to make the adjustment to public or private school at the kindergarten level rather than at first grade level? In most traditional kindergartens, the primary emphasis is on developing social skills with some preliminary work in cognitive readiness. In a Montessori environment, the emphasis is on individual growth, which allows for cognitive development based on a firm foundation of sensory and motor skill training, which makes the transition into academic work so much easier for the child. This transition occurs naturally during the third year in a Montessori environment, and it occurs without stress, pressure, or praise. At this point, a child who is ready will begin reading and working with math materials in addition to other activities. Few conventional kindergartens are geared to do this or have children who have been prepared for such work, and so it is not introduced until first grade