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.
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
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.
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