Why should I choose a Montessori education for my 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 and foster the child’s natural instincts and abilities to become an independent thinker who can make independent choices.
Why do Montessori schools have multi-age environments?
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.
Are your schools accredited by any Board? Are they license certified?
Our Preschool is licensed by ECDA (Early Childhood Development Agency) which is a government body that regulates preschool education (in non-MOE kindergartens and childcares) in Singapore.
Our Elementary school is registered with CPE (Committee for Private Education) 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. As far as possible, we try to hire AMI teachers as our Lead 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 student : teacher ratio like?
In the preschool, we have 1 Montessori Guide, 1 assistant Montessori Guide and 1 Mandarin Language Guide to 24 children per environment. In the elementary, we have 1 Montessori Guide, 1 Hindi Language Guide and 1 Mandarin Language Guide to 24 children.
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 any of the following: plain crackers, cornflakes, some vegetables or fruits for snacks.
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. Our children (provided they do not have any learning disabilities), upon leaving us, are more than able to make that transition to the next phase of their learning journey. They are also independent in many respects, being able to do things for themselves and to upkeep their environment. Socially, they are capable of compassion, and many are peace-makers, helping friends come to a peaceful settlement in conflict resolutions.
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.
Is there homework or worksheets? If not, how will parents know what their child is learning?
It is true that Montessori environments do not focus on the use of homework or worksheets. 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. For the elementary children, they keep a work journal of their work for each day. 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.
Do Montessori schools emphasise non-competitiveness? How do children cope with real-life competition which is bound to exist 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.
Will my child miss out on learning certain things that the majority of children going to traditional schools will learn and know?
The guides remain alert to the interests of each child and facilitate individual research in following interests. The Montessori preschool “curriculum” covers areas as many, or perhaps, even more than the curriculums of other traditional preschools. The same can be said for the Montessori elementary “curriculum” too. This is the age where “as many seeds are sowed as possible” as children’s minds are most receptive during this time and they absorb knowledge effortlessly like a sponge absorbs water. Children encounter Math, Language (English), Practical Life, Sensorial, Mandarin, Culture (Science, Geography, Zoology, Botany), Music and Art during their preschool years with us. They encounter Math, Geometry, Geography, History, Language (English), Mandarin, Hindi, Biology, Music and Art during their elementary years with us.
How are the children tested as Montessori elementary 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.
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 Secondary schools to ensure this process would happen smoothly?
No, we do not have a tie-up with any Secondary school as of now.
How does extra-curricular activities fit in with a Montessori education?
Montessori’s idea of education does not give academic subjects higher priority than any other interests children have, whether they are Arts or Music. 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 and Music are explored by the children to the best of their ability and interest.
Contact us @ Lodestar Montessori Preschool (3-6)
Lodestar Montessori Preschool
23 Jalan Teliti, Singapore 537319
From opposite Block 248, Hougang Ave 3, bus-stop 63071; buses: 51, 55, 87, 151, 151e, 854, 854e
On Tampines Road (towards Pasir Ris), bus-stop 63139; buses: 53, 62, 62A, 112, 112A
Take the North-East line and alight at Kovan MRT station. From Kovan MRT station, take a 10-minute walk towards Jalan Teliti.
Along Hougang Avenue 2 road towards Hougang Avenue 3 road, turn right at the traffic light just before the En-Naeem Mosque. Take the first left turn to Jalan Teliti. At the T-junction, turn right and proceed down the road; 23 Jalan Teliti is on your right.
Contact us @ Lodestar Montessori School (6-12)
Lodestar Montessori School
24 Jalan Selaseh, Singapore 808444
On Yio Chu Kang Road, after Jalan Selaseh, bus-stop 67061; buses: 50, 70, 70A, 70B, 70M, 103, 854
On Yio Chu Kang Road, opposite Seletar Hills Estate, bus-stop 67051; buses: 50, 70, 70A, 70B, 70M, 103, 854, 854e
Take the North-South line and alight at Yio Chu Kang MRT station. Take bus 70, 70M and alight at bus stop (67051). Walk towards the nearest traffic light from the bus stop and cross the road at the traffic light to Jalan Selaseh.
We are situated just off Yio Chu Kang road in Seletar Hills estate.