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How Can A Montessori School Save You Money?
Is it possible to save money by sending your child to a Montessori school? First, it’s important to understand how a Montessori classroom operates. The classroom is an environment for self-education and self-realization. The room is divided up into different learning stations. There are 5 stations in most classrooms:
• Practical Life – This area develops task organization and promotes the understanding of cognitive order.
• Sensorial – This area teaches the students to classify and describe sensory impressions such as length, width, temperature, color, etc. Special Montessori “games” are used which have metal weights, different length rods, puzzles of the world, United States, etc., and also includes smelling activities.
• Math- The Math station uses manipulative materials to enable the comprehension of number, symbol, sequence, operations concepts and the memorization of basic facts.
• Language – Unique tools are used to communicate the understanding of letters and eventually the recognition of words and finally, the accomplishment of being able to read.
• Cultural Activities – Teachers spend times teaching about different counties of the world. The topics covered are: geography, history, cultures (food, clothing, traditions), music and art. This part of the program gives children a worldly perspective.
My 4 year old son has been attending Montessori school since he was 2½. It’s evident that his language and understanding of the world around him are developing at a rapid pace. In his school, it is expected that pre-schoolers (4 year olds) will know how to read and write before kindergarten.
What impressed me most about this particular school is that they use the Open Court Sound Cards. The sound cards are drilled every day throughout the entire school year. The cards have a picture and a letter on them. Each card represents either a vowel or a consonant. The students learn the letters and their corresponding sounds through repetition and pictures. There are 42 cards in the set, each with a different letter, vowel or letter grouping (the letter grouping example is ‘ph’, to represent the sound ‘f’).
An example is the sound card for the letter ‘W’. There is a picture of two whales whispering to each other. During the lesson, the students chant “Whispering whale, whispering whale, wuh, wuh, wuh.” This repetition enforces the concept of how the letter “W” looks and also what it sounds like. This exercise is the very beginning of learning to read. In order to learn how to read, a child must first learn all the letters of the alphabet and their sounds.
The Open Court Sound Cards, published by McGraw-Hill SRA, are reviewed each day for the entire year. If a child starts learning this at age 2 ½ or 3, she will be putting the letters together and reading at around age 4 ½ to 5. Some other benefits of Open Court learning are:
• Phonological and phonemic awareness
• Print and book awareness
• Alphabetic knowledge
• Oral language skill enhancement
• Vocabulary growth
• improved comprehension
According to www.montessori-ami.org, “A significant finding in Montessori studies is the association between a Montessori education and superior performance on the Math and Science scales of the ACT and WKCE (Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exams). In essence, attending a Montessori program from the approximate ages of three to eleven predicts significantly higher mathematics and science standardized test scores in high school."
To answer the question posed in the title of this article, How Can A Montessori School Save You Money?, the answer is in the child’s future education. Studies show that a Montessori educated child is more confident and enthusiastic about learning and school. He or she will already know how to read and write by kindergarten. Because of this, the child will be less likely to need tutoring or other prep classes during the elementary school years.
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