By Pamela Phillips

Preschool can be an important step in a child's education. However, some people feel that there is too much pressure on small children for academic achievement. Montessori preschools Wellesley Massachusetts have a system that gives a child a firm foundation for future learning while making lessons feel like play. Parents who are interested in this approach need to understand how this n works, the goals, and the benefits.

The method was created by Maria Montessori in the early 1900s. Unable to attract wealthy patrons or pupils, she began to educate Downs Syndrome children in a poor part of Rome. Her success with these children, considered un-teachable at that time, brought her the attention she needed to see her program launched in Europe and America.

This is a 'self-directed' type of learning, where the student can choose which zone of the classroom to work in and what materials to use. Everything they need is available on open shelves. The program allows every child to use hands-on materials that teach basic principles of math, language, reading, writing, self-expression through music and drama, and respect for others and the classroom. For example, everything must be put back in its place before selecting a different object from the shelves.

The program is designed to let a child learn on her own, without distractions. Learning to focus and concentrate, as well as learning how to explore new ideas, is the goal. At the same time, courtesy is stressed. Other students are allowed to work on their own without interruption or competition, and the classroom itself is treated with respect. Parents who understand how these principles are presented can reinforce them at home.

The program is said to move a child toward self-discipline, from disorder to order, from distraction to focus. The preschool classes prepare the child to move to public school or to continue to higher levels in Montessori schools. A wide range of sensory objects are used to expose the child to cultures, history, geography, reading, writing, and math. For example, a child may play with strings of beads that contain ten beads, twenty, thirty, and so on up to a hundred. This is part of the math room, which contains things to help children internalize the concepts of numbers, symbols, and sequence, as well as to memorize some basic principles.

Good books, music, art, and drama are used to supplement the hands-on learning. The goal is to give each child a strong foundation in general learning, a willingness to pursue new ideas, positive feelings about school, and a respect for others in their school and community. As children learn how to learn, they feel a great sense of self-worth and a confidence to go on to public school or to the higher levels of Montessori education.

Information can be found at the American Montessori Society website. This group supports existing schools and works to raise awareness of the benefits of this early childhood educational system. It was founded in 1960, after interest in Montessori schools had waned. Parents may find they have questions which can be answered by school officials when a visit is made before enrollment.

Parents want their children to succeed, not just in school or in the workplace but in life. Educated citizens are the treasure of a country. If they are responsible and mindful of the needs of others, they will truly be pillars of their society.

About the Author: