5 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Montessori Kindergarten

By That's, November 9, 2019

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Choosing a preschool for your child can be an exciting, yet overwhelming decision, especially given the many options that a big city like Shanghai offers. Here are five of the most important aspects of Montessori education, all of which you can find at Radcliffe Montessori American Preschool:

1. Teacher Qualifications

5 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Montessori Kindergarten
Image courtesy of Radcliffe Montessori American Preschool

When choosing a Montessori school, it is important to make sure that teachers are certified from education programs affiliated with either the American Montessori Society (AMS) or the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).

The Montessori philosophy emphasizes learning. Being responsible for preparing and maintaining the classroom, a Montessori educator is consistently available to respond to the needs of the children. The teacher should be a positive and inspiring role model who guides children towards self-study, independence and self-confidence. 

5 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Montessori Kindergarten
Image courtesy of Radcliffe Montessori American Preschool

If you’re curious to see the Montessori educational approach in action, we suggest you schedule a school visit. This gives you the opportunity to speak with the head of school, meet with staff and observe a Montessori classroom in session.

2. Freedom within Limits

5 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Montessori Kindergarten
Image courtesy of Radcliffe Montessori American Preschool

Children have an innate curiosity about the world around them. Montessori teachers nurture this desire by encouraging children to freely explore a carefully prepared learning environment. In this way, each child is exposed to materials and experiences that stimulate intelligence and promote development, both physically and psychologically. 

Many might argue that a classroom where children can freely choose their own activities would result in chaos. However, children are more focused when presented with tasks that interest them and are given time to work independently.

3. Individual Instruction

5 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Montessori Kindergarten
Image courtesy of Radcliffe Montessori American Preschool

Montessori lessons are concise, direct and aimed at the child’s self-worth. Montessori educators follow the child by presenting new lessons once a skill is mastered. Children can then independently choose their own work, which can prevent boredom or the feeling of being rushed to the next concept.

In today’s busy, fast-paced society, parents may feel pressured to complete basic tasks for their young children, such as getting dressed, washing the dishes or buckling up in a car seat. Rather than letting them try on their own, parents with unconditional love for their children would prefer to avoid struggle and failure.

However, Montessori schools offer the tools for your child to be successfully independent. Furniture and materials are child-sized, and teachers are always checking the safety of the task your child chooses. This further encourages your child when we know they are capable of succeeding.

4. Mixed-Aged Grouping

5 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Montessori Kindergarten
Image courtesy of Radcliffe Montessori American Preschool

Montessori preschools usually group children aged 12 to 36 months and 3 to 6 years old. This family-type structure encourages young children to learn from the older children. Likewise, it encourages the older children to be role models. Children can cooperate and collaborate rather than compete with each other. This mixed-aged classroom mimics a real work environment with academic, social and emotional benefits. It also creates a sense of security, as the child remains under the care of one directress for a longer period of time.  

5 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Montessori Kindergarten
Image courtesy of Radcliffe Montessori American Preschool

5. Prepared Environment

5 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Montessori Kindergarten
Image courtesy of Radcliffe Montessori American Preschool

The prepared environment is a key component of the Montessori method. What this means is that the physical classroom environment and the spirit of the teacher are prepared to influence your child’s learning process and emotional well-being. The materials in Montessori classrooms should be designed to support children’s physical and cognitive development. 

Montessori classrooms should have big open spaces, large windows allowing in plenty of natural light and child-sized desks and chairs in order to let students feel comfortable and welcomed when they arrive at school each morning. Natural light in a classroom also helps increase concentration, giving students more energy throughout the day and improving their attitude. According to the US Department of Education, classrooms with more natural light have a 20% better learning rate in math and 26% improved rate in reading compared to classrooms with little or none.


About Radcliffe Montessori American Preschool

Radcliffe Montessori American Preschool
Radcliffe Montessori American Preschool

What sets Radcliffe Montessori American Preschool apart from other Montessori schools in Shanghai? Besides the features described above, they promote diversity and cultural awareness among students, families and staff. They are also a member of the American Montessori Society – the largest Montessori society recognized worldwide. Moreover, they are also the sister school of Shrewsbury Montessori School (SMS), a school with the highest level of recognition by the American Montessori Society, three campuses in Massachusetts, USA and over 45 years of history. They collaborate with SMS on a daily basis and aim to offer an authentic, high-quality Montessori education.

SMS advised Radcliffe Montessori in choosing the school’s current location for several features that are conducive to children’s education, including the spacious outdoor space.

In an urban city like Shanghai, many children unfortunately have few opportunities to run, play and explore the nature around them. Radcliffe Montessori has two large playgrounds and a natural grass field where your little ones develop their motor skills, such as walking and running as much as possible, all while being surrounded by vast natural greenery. Developing gross motor skills at an early age is very important in keeping children healthy, releasing energy and enhancing both self-esteem and confidence.

Scan the QR code below for more information:

Radcliffe Montessori American Preschool


Radcliffe Montessori American Preschool, 1707 Huamu Lu, by Fangdian Lu 花木路1707号, 近芳甸路 (5835 6766, 15800627057)

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