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Understanding Montessori: A Guide for Parents Paperback – April 27, 2009
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I loved everything the author said about Montessori! It confirmed for me that we picked the right school for our boys. We looked at a bunch, and I even subbed at this one. If you are looking for a Montessori school, she has great guidelines and will help you to know what to look for. Unfortunately, they are not all the same.
The only thing that confused me about this book is the author says you should only spend half of your housing payment on a Montessori school (I guess she doesn't want people to get in over their heads- which is VERY important). Most Montessori schools in this area are $12k/year ($1k/month). For us, this is doubled since we have 2 kids, and we are certainly not looking for a mortgage/taxes that are $4k/year. We have been considering buying a small house so that we can afford this. I started second guessing this decision. We are nowhere near rich. We are young professionals so our earning potential is much higher than our current income. We just want to give our boys the best.
After reading this book, I truly believe that Montessori is the best learning method for our boys; however, I'm second guessing my decision to spend all of this money on their education. If we were to take these payments and invest them, we could pay for their college degrees. :-(
Montessori in America is like David to the Goliath of public schools. Montessori addresses and even solves some of the problems that large school systems cannot begin to address (i.e. it embraces different learning styles and acknowledges each student as an individual). Because it is such a careful method, it cannot be applied quickly, cheaply, or in bits and pieces. It takes patience, training, and understanding from both teachers and parents to see the method work on the child over the course of their preschool and elementary years. Ms. Schmidt's book will aid in giving parents patience and faith in an educational model that is not about quick results.
Mrs. Schmidt does a great job by describing both worlds, as a teacher and as a parent... explaining step by step background, roots and common fears as parents.
It also makes me even more confident and happy about chosing Montessori, and I'm doing changes to our home environment & behavior to boost and go with the Montessori principles.
The book is organized such that parents can easily find information pertaining to their particular needs: looking for a school, questions about a particular age-group, insight into the Montessori philosophy, additional resources, etc.
One unique aspect of this book is a thorough checklist of what to look for when first visiting a school. Often parents are overwhelmed when observing classrooms and meeting the principal and/or teachers. It's hard to know what to be aware of and what questions to ask without any prior experience. Schmidt expertly guides prospective Montessori parents through this important stage.