Am I too late to choose Montessori for my child?
Am I too late? Can my child attend a Montessori school?
The answer is no, it's never to late to get started with Montessori.
The Primary environments (preschool classrooms) are the most readily available to accept students. This is the ideal starting point for most families and the three-year age grouping allows the young child to get the most out of this early childhood room. Older students mentor younger students, materials and lessons take on the most meaning, and the awesome and deep relationship between the child and the teacher begins to take root.
Many times a student will enter a Primary classroom at age four or five, midway into the early childhood program. While these older students typically fall right into the routines and rhythm of the Montessori Primary environment, some gaps in the knowledge may become apparent. These gaps however can be rectified through the work of the student, the teacher, and the supportive family.
Entering at a lower elementary level (1st, 2nd, or 3rd grades) is more difficult. A student entering a Montessori program for the first time at this level is missing specific pieces of the foundation from the Primary (preschool and kindergarten) program. It can still work, however, especially if a child enters at the start of the three-year cycle that Montessori so heavily emphasizes. Again, the key to the success of children entering at the lower elementary level will depend on the support of the families, the guidance and support of the teacher, and the students themselves.
After the 3rd grade, it becomes more difficult but still possible for a student to enter a Montessori school. The Upper elementary classroom is the next logical step in a Montessori school and this group encompasses traditional 4th, 5th, and 6th grade age students. Some schools may not accept new, non-Montessori experienced students at this level, however, independence, a love of learning, and self-motivation are key, so if a child exhibits these characteristics they may be an excellent candidate and addition to the upper elementary classroom.
The best time to enter a Montessori school is through an infant and/or toddler program or at the age of three. While entering a program at later levels becomes increasingly difficult, it can still be done and a student can still reap the benefits of this hands-on, student driven approach to learning. With the right support from a family that’s invested in this approach and strong mentorship from the school staff and teacher as well as fellow classmates, any child can do well and find success at any time in a Montessori school.