Similarly to traditional schools, Montessori schools are not all the same. While they all generally follow the same principles, structure, and guidelines, there are still many different traits and characteristics to differentiate one from the other. In fact, the Montessori approach isn’t franchised or licensed – so no two Montessori schools are alike.
It’s important to get to know your child’s school before committing to them because there are many things you may not know about their education structure. While the Montessori approach has certain guidelines and the AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) certainly has standards, the word “Montessori” isn’t trademarked – therefore, any school can be considered “Montessori.”
While this seems like it could be a bad thing, it’s really not. You may have to spend a little more time searching for the right school for your kiddo, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Just think of all the questions you’ll get to ask and the information you’ll get to learn – once you find it, you’ll be comfortable with your child’s new school in no time!
Education similarity is one thing, but the school structure is another. Some Montessori schools consider themselves “public,” others “private.” In some areas you can even find Montessori schools that are considered “charter” schools – similar to those of traditional schools. These differences can make the atmosphere and environment change from school to school.
Each school practices the entire model in different variations. Where some follow the AMI standards very strictly, others may not. Just like individuals could, each school may interpret Dr. Montessori’s words differently.
Now that you know the several differences between the individual Montessori schools, you may feel like you’ll visit a thousand schools before you find “the one.” Don’t worry – that almost never happens. Plus, visiting (a few) different schools can also be one of the best things for the children because each parent basically gets to hand-pick the environment they’re in!
“The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.” – Dr. Maria Montessori