The most popular time to put children into the Montessori way of learning is usually between 2 ½ and 6 years old. The majority of Montessori centers are focused on preschool and early childhood development so this is the best time to enrol children to extract the most benefit from the methodology.
The principles behind Montessori focus on helping children gain independence and learn skills from a young age. These skills can help the child as they progress and grow throughout their life. The sooner you build your child’s confidence through this type of learning environment, the more likely they are to succeed in their school career.
But that doesn’t mean that it should stop at 6 years old or that before 2 ½ years is too early to enter Montessori education. While this style of learning is mostly directed towards younger children and toddlers, there are options available for children of all ages including lower elementary education, upper elementary education, and secondary education. Children can get started at any of these stages, and there are benefits at every level. Self-directed learning and exploration foster good habits that anyone can learn from, no matter what age they are.
Infant- 8 weeks to 18 months
Many people may wonder what the benefits are for putting infants in some sort of Montessori program because their children are still so little. But this is a time when an infant is growing and learning about the world around them.
Some of the concepts that are the focus for infants include building trust and the development of personality, sensory learning, physical and emotional care, daily routines, and the beginning stages of language acquisition.
Toddler, 18 months to 3 years
Toddler programs within Montessori learning are increasing in popularity and act as a soft transition between home and school. One of the main focuses for toddler levels is physical independence.
Montessori toddler activities are simple and suited to fit the needs of the toddler. They often focus on objectives such as self-care, cooperation, physical coordination, rhythm, social development, and respect for other children.
During this age range, toddlers are energetic and full of enthusiasm! In a Montessori setting, the toddler is free to play and explore in an environment that is designed to monitor and guide their learning. This environment helps to create growth and a sense that the child is able to explore the things they want to (and also makes less of a mess for the parents to clean up!).
Children, 3yr to 5 years old
One of the benefits of Montessori learning, especially at this age, is the blend of children of different ages. This is something that is not found in public schools or some other private schools.
In a Montessori school, your child can learn at their own pace, being influenced by children of both younger and older ages. This brings fluidity to their learning and prevents a rigid style of learning that often may cause frustration or disappointment in children.
Starting your child in Montessori at this age may help your child learn to work in small groups and independently, explore math and language, as well as enjoy “freedom within limits”. Social development also occurs as children learn to clean up after themselves, learn hygiene, and respect. At this age, schooling is not simply a daycare, but an education system that can produce some of the best outcomes for learning.
Elementary Levels, 5 years and older
In the elementary level of Montessori, a child is prepared for reading, math, science, geography, art, practical experience, and sensory experiences. It’s different from desk learning because children are participating in projects, research, discussion, and are working toward becoming independent thinkers.
The teacher in these levels provides information to the student and then guides them to learn more about the topic based on their exploration.
Montessori education can go as far as high-school education, from 12 – 18 years old. Montessori in the secondary level includes a rigorous academic study that is full of purpose and prepares teens to become contributing adults to society as well as good citizens. They will continue to focus on well-being and certain aspects of health including physical, emotional, social, and cognitive health.
Montessori can be a life-long experience for a child that will be key on development their confidence, intelligence, and self-learning ability. It is never too late to enter a Montessori program and you can check out our website and shop by age.