Choosing a Montessori School – The Adults

The final thing I would look at when choosing a Montessori school is the adults in the environment. This includes the administration, the guide and the assistants.

I would look at the administration because they make a lot of decisions about the school so I would want them to be Montessori trained and passionate about the child.

The guide is the one is prepares the child’s environment. It is the guide who has to observe the child and support the child’s development. The success of a Montessori environment is tied to the guide so I would really look at the guide. What would I look for?

Training: My personal preference is the AMI training but the AMS training is also good. There are other good training programs out there but the most recognized are AMI and AMS. Ask where the guide was trained. Do your research to make sure it is legitimate.

Passion: All trained Montessori guides are not equal. I think one thing that separate a good guide from a great guide is passion. Passion for human development, passion for education, passion for the Montessori method and passion for the child. Talk to the guide and ask questions that let you gauge their passion. You can also see and feel the passion when the guide interacts with the child. A passionate guide is able to engage the child and capture his/her interest.

Trusting the child's abilities, the guide gives engaging lessons that help the child in his acquisition of independence
Trusting the child’s abilities, the guide gives engaging lessons that help the child in his acquisition of independence. See the faces of these children…

Respect: A good guide must respect the child and his potentials. This is exhibited in the way the guide talks to and even about the child. Also the way the guide treats the child. Does he/she come down to the child’s level, do they make eye contact, do they respect the reasonable activities that the child engages in? Do they observe and let the child show them the way or make assumptions? Do they respect the child’s concentration? Are they still awed by the child’s conquests? These are things that I would look for in a guide

Notice how the adults keep their hands away from the child's work. They are also at the child's level and observing.
Notice how the adults keep their hands away from the child’s work. They are also at the child’s level and observing.

Grooming: This one may seem petty or controversial but I think it is important. Is the guide well-groomed? Do they dress appropriately? Clean nails, hair etc. Remember that the child absorbs all the impressions in the environment and that the guide is a model to the child. Also, when you are going to see someone important that you respect, you make an effort to look good. The child is important and should be respected by the adults and part of this is taking care to look well-kept.

I hope these posts help you on your journey to choosing the right school for your loved ones. Incase you missed the other posts in this series, you can read about the prepared environment, the materials and the method.

As always, I love hearing from you so please feel free to add to the conversation with comments or questions.


Live a Good Life!

7 thoughts on “Choosing a Montessori School – The Adults

    1. Thank you starrhillgirl! It’s a struggle for a lot of adults in school and at home. I’m glad you enjoyed them. I appreciate your comments!

  1. Maria Montessori describes the difficulty many face in learning to observe the child: “Even an intelligent teacher, who understands the principle, finds much difficulty in putting it into practice. She can not understand that her new task is apparently passive, like that of the astronomer who sits immovable before the telescope while the worlds whirl through space. This idea, that life acts of itself, and in order to study it, to divine its secrets… it is necessary to observe it and understand it without intervening – this idea, I say, is very difficult to assimilate and to put into practice.” From ‘The Montessori Method’, page 88

    1. That is an awesome quote and so apt! It can be so so hard to remain passive. In our pride we want to be important and so we want to act, do, help, intervene and correct and instead of achieving our intended goals, we thwart the child’s development. May we all learn to be still and observe…

  2. A friend of mine was recently looking at a supposedly montessori day care for her two year old daughter but was put off because she observed that an upset child was left to cry on her own. The child was crying because she wanted to be with her brother who was in the older group above three years old. Apparently the staff’s reaction was “she does this everyday” and the protocol was to leave her on the mat until she calmed herself. I don’t know how long it took for the child to calm her self but it made me wonder what would be the appropriate montessori response to such a situation. My personal response would be to try to console the child and re-direct her attention to something she might find interesting. On the other hand I wonder if the montessori emphasis on independence encourages young children to learn to work through their emotions on their own? What do you think.

    1. I think that is a big misconception that a lot of Montessori teachers have and I also had a time when I thought like that before completing my training. It is unfortunate because a child whose emotional needs are not met will have a hard time achieving independence.

      I think we can help the child acquire the tools they need to work through their emotions but might need to support them as they acquire it. I personally would also try to console the child and redirect them to work. I find that engaging in meaningful work is the best distraction for an upset child and sometimes they just want their feelings acknowledged which I am happy to help them with too.

      I feel like leaving the child to cry it out would also affect the other children and just does not foster an environment of love. This is my own opinion. There is a video on the montessori guide website that discusses these situations where the child is upset and I thought it was lovely. I will find the link and share it.

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