Why do Montessori schools have multi-age classrooms?
Multi age classrooms make the entire range of curriculum available to each of the children individually so that they can work at their own pace, while remaining in community with their peers. It encourages older children to be the leaders of the classroom, even those who may be shy or quiet. Children also learn more easily from one another. The young child who is helped by an older child will know that it will be his/her turn to help a younger child when he/she gets older.
Is your school accredited by any board? Is it licensed/certified?
We are registered with CPE which is a government body that regulates private education in Singapore.
Dr. Montessori founded the Association Montessori Internationale in 1929 to preserve her legacy. AMI offers teacher training and conferences, approves the production of Montessori materials and books. We hire AMI teachers as our Head Guides to ensure the quality of Montessori education. Since AMI does not accredit any school outside USA and Europe, we cannot be accredited by them even though we may meet their standards.
Isn't Montessori just a Preschool?
Since there are a greater number of Montessori Preschools around the world, it is more known for its Preschool programmes but Montessori is an educational method that has programmes from 0 to 18 years, infancy to adolescence.
What is the guide-student ratio like?
We have 1 Montessori Guide and 2 Language Guides to 24-28 children.
How are our children tested as Montessori schools do not have exams?
Records of children and their abilities in the different modules are kept and updated daily. Feedback and updates are given to parents half-yearly in the Parent-Guide Conference.
If children are free to choose their own work, how do you ensure they receive a well rounded education?
Children are free to choose their own work (which they have been presented with) within the limits and guidelines of the environment, that is, to complete tasks appropriate for their age and capabilities in all the areas. They are not free to choose behaviour or actions that hinder the other children or misuse the materials in the environment.
The guides ensure that the children, whilst having free choice of work, also fulfil their responsibility to choose work in all areas. The children learn that freedom comes with responsibility.
Are Montessori schools as rigorous as traditional schools?
Yes; Montessori schools encourage deep learning of the concepts behind academic skills rather than rote practice of abstract techniques. Maria Montessori devised the Cosmic Education curriculum after observing that children in the 6-12 age group could grasp subjects which were given to high school age children then. The success of our children appears in the experiences of our alumni, who compete successfully with traditionally educated students in a variety of high schools and universities.
Do Montessori schools emphasise non-competitiveness? How do children cope with real-life competition which is bound to be existent later in life?
Since Montessori schools are rooted in the belief that a child will self-construct and self-perfect, competition does not become necessary. Competition then creates obstacles as children will doubt their self-perfection abilities when competition is encouraged. Older children might compete with one other but it is self-chosen, and instead of criticising and demeaning others, they encourage others to do their own best. Our children learn to compete with themselves, demanding the best effort from themselves.
What happens if we have to transfer our child from this school to another? Will other schools accept Montessori Elementary as formal education?
To have a pathway for our children after their Elementary education, we spoke to a few International schools in Singapore to understand their requirements for children entering their Secondary programme. They assured us in writing that our children would be eligible to enter their Secondary programme in the same way any other child could – based on an evaluation (entry test and age). We have evaluated that the topics covered in our Cosmic Education corresponds (and even exceeds) the range of topics covered in other Elementary programmes.
Do you have any tie-ups with mainstream schools to ensure this process can happen smoothly?
No, we do not have a tie-up with any Secondary school as of now.
Why you should choose a Montessori school/education for your child?
Current research supports Dr. Maria Montessori’s belief that the critical years of childhood from 0-12 years are the most important in the formation of the human being. What better gift to give your child than the gift of a Montessori education that will set your child up for life and instil in your child a love for learning and a clear understanding of the world around him/her. Montessori education does not just address academic areas but social and emotional areas as well. It is a holistic education supporting the growth of the child at every stage of development.
At Lodestar Montessori, the guides recognise when the child is ready to learn a new skill, fosters his/her natural instincts and abilities to become an independent thinker and make choices on his/her own.
Will my child 'miss out' on learning certain things that the majority of the children going to traditional schools learn and will know?
The guides remain alert to the interests of each child and facilitate individual research in following interests. There are no curriculum requirements except those set by the country the child lives in with regards to specific grade levels. These take a minimum amount of time. From age 6, children design contracts with the Guide to meet their required work, to balance their general work and to teach them to become responsible for their own time management and education. The work of the 6-12 class includes subjects usually not introduced until high school or college in a traditional setting.
Is there homework, tests, exams? If not, then how do the parents know what the child is learning, what are the subjects taught or what is the syllabus being covered?
It is true that Montessori classrooms do not focus on the use of textbooks, grades or homework. This is because children are encouraged to take ownership of their own learning. This is an essential step in fostering the child’s natural in-borne desire to soak up knowledge. There are no grades, or other forms of reward or punishment, subtle or overt. Assessment is by portfolio and the guide’s observation and record keeping. The test of whether the system is working lies in the accomplishment and behaviour of the children, their happiness, maturity, kindness and love for learning and level of work.
How does extra curricular activities fit in Montessori environment?
Montessori’s idea of education did not give academic subjects higher priority than any other interests children had, whether they were Arts, Music or Sports. Any activity the child is engaged in with his/her mind and body is a curricular activity. Requirements of the country where the child lives makes it important for us to make sure those are met at the minimum. Art, Music and Sports are explored by the children to the best of their ability and interest.
What about lunch or snacks?
The children bring their lunch to school, usually in thermos flasks to keep their food warm. Snacks are provided by the school. We provide plain crackers, cornflakes, some vegetables and fruits for snacks.