Monday, April 25, 2011

How to Find a Good Montessori School: Quick Tips

We post on this topic occasionally, and here are some fresh thoughts on a long-standing issue of how to find a good school and teachers. Your child's Montessori experience will only be as healthy and productive as the teacher, assistant, and school, so check wisely and carefully. A well-trained nervous wreck of a teacher will do your child no good at all! And an overbearing unkind administrator's effects will be echo through the school.


1. Visit the school.

2. Are the teachers AMS or AMI trained?

3. Ask how many years the teachers and assistants have been teaching this age group.

4. Observe a full day of class including snacks, meals, and outdoor play.

5. Are the teachers and assistants polite, respectful, and kind to children?

6. Are the children polite, respectful, and kind to each other? When they aren't, what does the staff do? Is unwanted behavior discussed and alternatives suggested?

7. The staff should not helicopter teach! This is not a good thing in the Montessori system, so be aware of overly hovering staff.

8. Do not judge the staff on how they handle you! They are trained to work with children, not adults (though hopefully they do okay with parents, too). Observe and visit quietly. Bring up comments, questions, or observations later with administration (you can ask to meet with teachers separately after children have departed).

9. Does the staff get along well with the administration? Any intimidation or unhappiness tends to trickle down to the students, so this is a helpful hint to anything that might go wrong.

10. Is there a name of a well-known teacher or administrator on the door and website, but this person is not present at school? This is another red flag.

11. Talk to parents. You can wait until pick up time and interact with the parents. Ask if you can attend a PTA meeting in advance of making a decision.

Good luck!

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