Sixtine started Montessori school this past winter and they are now closed for the summer. She is enjoying going to a home daycare for the time being where she spends most of her time outside with other children her age and her baby sister.

She will start the “Casa Program” in September on a full-time basis and I am happy to have found such a great school for her to learn, experiment and grow.

However, I have been asking myself a question:

Is Montessori (really) for everyone?

My daughter has a very strong and adventurous personality. She needs to touch, explore and learn freely. I have to admit that I have been asking myself whether a Montessori school would be the best for her or not. I think that (good) Montessori schools are a wonderful learning environment for life but I can’t stop wondering if it actually suits all children, and all personalities.

This has been on my mind for a while and I would love to hear your input / feedback / experience on the matter.

Thank you!

12 thoughts on “Is Montessori For Everyone

  1. Beth - Our Montessori Life

    Oh I imagine you may get a flurry of answers on this topic!!! And me heading out the door to work! I will have to weigh in on the matter tonight. I have been missing you terribly. I hope your summer is proving to be wonderful.

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    1. Sixtine et Victoire Post author

      You were the first person I had in mind when I started asking myself that…I value your opinion a lot Beth! Have a good day at work and I hope you will find the time needed to reply some time. I miss you very much as well x

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  2. Culturebaby

    We are fairly new to formal Montessori education. My eldest is Sixtine’s age and does two mornings a week. She seems to really suit that sort of learning as she is string willed, curious and independently minded. We’ve seen a really good impact on her as a result. I also do a bit of DIY Montessori style activities at home. At 4 we will have to take stock and see whether she needs a more formal setting to transition to school or not (we don’t have a montessori primary nearby). I hear mixed views on whether Montessori kids can struggle a little in reception as they are used to directing their own learning so much. Other people says it prepares them very well. We shall see… From friends with older children I have heard the style of learning does suit some personalities better than others. Interested to see what others say on here.

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  3. montessorilifeasweknowit

    Hi Deb. This is a really interesting question. My husband as you know is a Montessori kid. He went to Montessori kinder as did his brother. His sister did not. They couldn’t be more different in personality and temperament and interests. My husband and his brother are more alike I guess, both fairly intellectual personalities and broad readers with inquiring minds, constantly questioning, making suggestions and wanting to know more about everything. I’m not sure if that is a function of personality or if Montessori education lead them to be this way? It is probably a combination of both. My sister in law is nothing like them, more creative and prefers art/craft pursuits. Again partly personality but apparently from the time she was young she was this way. I would say the philosophy of Montessori is a great one and is for everyone – follow the child! But is the Montessori classroom for every child? I don’t like to say no because I truly believe that Montessori education is for everyone. But based on circumstances and family preferences I feel it would be unfair for me to declare that it is definitely for everyone. If we are talking about a strong personality with freedom to explore then I would suggest that Montessori definitely would suit that type of learning – Montessori classrooms are all about self directed learning. Children at that age are so impressionable and they really do adapt to the environment around them – hence the importance of the prepared environment and why I have been putting so much work into ours to make sure it supports Joshua’s learning. Anyway, I digress (slightly).

    I have to go now but I would love to weigh back in and write more later. I will think more on this today, thanks for bringing this topic up. I have been asked this question a little lately and it makes me think more and more on it.

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  4. Tammy

    We always tell people that quality Montessori is for every child (we follow the child, of course!), but not for every family. We don’t recommend our school for high media families, laissez-faire families, and authoritarian families. We also don’t recommend our school for families with extreme expectations (our child will be a doctor, read by four, etc). Because we follow the child, that “doctor” may well really be an artist and we would nurture that heart’s desire, not the family’s wish to push towards other subjects. Also, we go outside everyday, no matter what the weather, get dirty, and make messes. A lot. Not for families that must have a perfect looking child always!

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  5. ourmontessorijourney

    Hi Deb, I have also been thinking about this alot. I have come to the conclusion that it all depends on the school and the teachers who work there and how every individual teacher perceives and understands the Montessori method of education. I have worked in four different Montessori schools and with more than 20 Montessori teachers and I can say not all of them had a deep knowledge of what Montessori education is all about. Most of them only knew how to present Montessori materials, some were very strict and some made the children sit quietly and do work while being so still and silent. Now is this what Maria Montessori advocated and introduced to the world of education? being a stay at home mum I am also worried! In one hand I know how beneficial Montessori education is and I do my best to follow it at home in other hand I know when the time comes to look for a preschool I will struggle to find a school that truly follows the child!!

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  6. Beth - Our Montessori Life

    My dear friend, I have been waiting all day.
    “Is Montessori for everyone?” The truthful answer from my heart is yes. A “yes” that comes with an “if”. Montessori can be for everyone if you mean the pedagody: the moral beliefs and way of living. Sadly, Montessori is not for everyone IF by Montessori you simply mean schools & specific materials (I somehow don’t think you do). Montessori is for you if you believe that a child should be more than loved, they should be respected. It is for you if you believe a child’s uniqueness should be fostered, not conformed. It is for you if you believe that they are capable of compassion, curiosity and peace, and that it is a child’s own sense of accomplishment and self worth, not test scores that should drive our desire to guide them through this world.
    It has little to do with a physical school and even less to do with specific materials, although both compliment each other nicely.
    Perhaps it is more that Montessori is for Anyone. Anyone who believes that there is some peace and good in this world and that they come in the form of a child.

    “A child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.” -Maria Montessori.

    http://ourmontessorilife.com/2013/06/27/everything-i-and-maybe-you-need-to-know-about-montessori-part-1/

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  7. Meghan

    I thought about your post overnight, and I have so much empathy for where you are in terms of wanting the very best experience for your child whom you love so much.

    That said, I can’t put my own ideas any better than Beth has already, and beautifully.

    An adventurous, self-assured child seems like someone who would capably adapt to a Montessori environment. Maybe you could revisit the original ideas of Montessori as part of your process in examining what is right for Sixtine (maybe chapter 27 on the teacher’s preparation in The Absorbent Mind?).

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  8. montessoricarrie

    I think “Montessori” is for every child, based upon pedagogy alone. How it is implemented can be very subjective. If you’re asking about a particular school, then the training of the guides, the materials in the school, and the philosophy of the school make a huge impact. Each particular school will not be a good fit for every child. And the desires of the parents might not be aligned with Montessori (or the philosophy of the school), so Montessori is not the right fit for every family. The need “to touch, explore and learn freely.” is hallmark Montessori. I would be surprised if the school your daughter is enrolled in doesn’t nurture this. Regarding her “very strong and adventurous personality”, I think she will have a different experience in a Montessori classroom than a calm, observant child. Given the right circumstances, all personalities will flourish in the Montessori classroom, but the experience will be different. Just as each individual child is unique, their experience will be too. Each will be loved, respected, and given guidance to “give each individual the chance to fulfil his potential possibilities to become an independent, secure, and balanced human being.” ~Maria Montessori
    If you are questioning if your daughter should continue to be enrolled in her Casa program in the fall, I wonder if it’s possible for you to speak with her future guides and pose some situational questions to them to see how they’ve handled it. Were you able to observe in the classroom? How were some of children with the stronger personalities given guidance? Was their adventurous spirit given the opportunity to do purposeful and engaging work? Or perhaps speak to the administration to question further some of the school’s philosophy to see if it aligns with your own (such as short-term goals of what she’ll gain with her experience and long-term goals of who she’ll become). I love Meghan’s suggestion to dive in to some of Montessori’s books to re-visit the pedagogy to see if it continues to feel like a good fit for your family. Hugs to you as you wrestle with this.

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  9. Kylie

    I would support what has already been said here :)

    Yes, absolutely Montessori is for every child. And absolutely for a child who has a strong and adventurous personality. My two children have completely different/opposite personalities and I have observed Montessori in action with both children, at home and at school.

    It is not for every parent and I think some of those reasons have been clearly articulated above.

    Montessori schooling/education is for every child if (and such a big if) it is implemented as intended.

    I have researched Montessori and our alternative local schools – actual schools not just philosophies and while I have the choice I would not send my children anywhere else.

    Problems arise when people misinterpret Montessori (I see this everyday) and when schools and teachers aren’t unto scratch.

    However you can only base your decision on what options are available to you at the time. Also on occasion we have to base our decisions on what is best for the entire family.

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  10. alma

    I have been wondering the same thing for some time! My child has ADHD (the hyperactive kind) and I made the choice not to pursue with Montessori. I find it too discouraging as focus and respect of environment are keys to the Montessori Philosophy. My boy is simply too disruptive in class, too agitated, and he has to be reminded 10 times to follow through a simple task he was set to do (like put on his shoes) because on his way from the sofa to the shoes rack, he found10 things to do instead ;) He needs more structure, structure from someone else than himself. He isn’t able to sit still, therefore there are many activities that he can’t do in a Montessori setting. At least, it’s what I can see at home. He was in a Montessori daycare/kindergarden but he’ll start a “normal” school next year. I’m still unsure it is the right decision. I haven’t met parents of children with ADHD who also experienced Montessori, either at home or at school. If you have any info about it, or contacts, I would love to hear them!

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