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How to Know if Montessori Education is Right For Your Family

Updated on September 10, 2007

When it comes to your child's education you want to make the right decision. This conversation with author and Montessori expert, Maren Schmidt can help families explore whether or not Montessori education is a good fit.

LD: Is Montessori education suitable for all children?

MS: As long as a program is well implemented, and by that I mean that the program maintains three key components--well-trained adults, specially prepared environments, and children's free choice of activity within a three-hour work cycle-any child should thrive in a Montessori environment. I believe that Montessori education, well implemented, benefits every child it serves. Montessori education is for every child--unfortunately, it is not for every parent. Parents' inability to change parenting styles and understand their children's needs is the biggest drawback for children in a Montessori classroom.

LD: What are some reasons to switch from traditional education to Montessori?

MS: Many parents are attracted to Montessori schools because they see that their child is not a traditional learner. Howard Gardner talks about multiple intelligences and traditional education works well with children who have strong verbal and math skills.

Gardner identifies eight basic types of intelligence: linguistic, logical and mathematical, spatial, musical, kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalist. So the children who have nontraditional types of learning styles need a different type of environment to thrive.

Parents who see that their children are not thriving in a traditional setting, or parents who as children did not thrive in those types of settings are attracted to the whole child, multi-faceted approach that Montessori schools offer for their children's development.

The reason to switch to Montessori education seems to me to be that you want your child to develop all aspects of his or her personality, not just academic skills.

LD: How are Montessori schools regulated to ensure high academic standards?

MS: Regulations on private and public schools vary from state to state. Organizations, such as Association Montessori International, American Montessori Society and International Montessori Foundation, set training and implementation standards for schools. These organizations also accredit Montessori schools and teachers.

Most Montessori schools are concerned about the development of the whole child instead of being totally focused on high academic standards. The Montessori idea is "to follow the child" and the child's needs--not "follow the standardized tests scores".

The paradox is that when we focus on meeting the needs of the whole child, academic skills soar.

About Maren Schmidt

Maren Schmidt is an award winning Montessori teacher and author, as well as a popular workshop presenter. Over the past 25 years Maren has been a Montessori parent, teacher, school founder and director. She holds elementary teaching credentials from the Association Montessori Internationale and a M.Ed. from Loyola College in Maryland. Maren's weekly newspaper column, Kids Talk TM, is available at Maren is currently working on two books, The Montessori Parents Handbook and Mommy! Help Me LearnTM My Manners, a parenting guide for teaching pre-schoolers manners and social skills. Write to

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    casey byrd 6 years ago

    plz visit my blog and read the article i JUST published about Montessori _ i copied your quote bc it was cute. anyway i need some advice.. would you tweeet out my post to readers or on facebook and help me get some opinions? Thanks! i linked to this post as well. Thanks! ( I hope thats ok, if not, I will remove it immediately. )

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    Cynthia 7 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

    wow, this is an ace interview with Maren Schmidt-- I'm a granny of a Montessori child (kindergarten) and want to learn more about the style of learning she and her younger sister will be engaged in-- to be in the loop. So far, I love what I find out. Thank you so much.

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    montessori course 8 years ago

    You have done very good job. Montessori school is a good choice fot the children. Montessori schools may be a great educational experience for children.