What to Expect After One Year of Montessori – By Age Group
Quick – think back to last year (which seems like a lifetime ago) and picture your child. Were they born yet? Were they just learning to walk? To read? Now, look ahead. Is your child born yet? Running everywhere and jumping off of tables? Writing? Dividing? What expectations SHOULD you have for your child’s first year of Montessori school? This brief explanation, by age group, can provide insight into what you can expect overall by investing in your child’s Montessori education.
Infants (6 Weeks – 18 Months) Expect confidence!
As an infant joins a Montessori school or Nido classroom, they are immediately immersed in an active environment that provides a ton of one-on-one attention and care. Their teacher will honor their natural eating and sleeping schedule that you’ve provided throughout the day and use their active time to engage them in activities that are purposeful. Over time they will be introduced and encouraged to use a utensil to eat, sleep outside of the crib, and once they are standing well they can be introduced to early toilet learning habits. Your infant will have the internal confidence to move physically, explore their environment without barriers, and build trust with the adult that honors their needs.
Toddler (18 Months – 3 Years) Expect independence!
The toddler environment is arguably the most active environment and involves a lot of observation of students on the teacher’s behalf – not stepping in to “help” but rather stepping back and helping the child do their tasks independently. Whether it’s dressing themselves, serving themselves a snack, choosing an activity, going potty, or showing initiative to a friend in need – you’ll observe it at home as well. This is a terrific age to allow this type of independence to spill over into home life as well. Your child can totally help clean their dishes after dinner at home – they do it at school!
Primary (3 Years – 6 Years) Expect academic progress!
Primary students are fascinating to observe in their work cycle because the mixed age groups are really seen at play. The older children become mentors to the younger, novice, children and the gentle hum of happily engaged children is present. This is also where you can expect your child’s academic progress to SOAR. They are not restricted in a Montessori environment to only learning what was planned for that day, but rather they move at their own individual pace and learn lessons as they are ready. For example, not all 4-year-olds can read – some 3-year-olds can too – so why limit “learning to read” to a large group of students who do not all learn at the same pace? Having a mixed-aged classroom allows your child’s natural curiosity and desire to learn – stay natural.