Apple Montessori Blog

Do You Know the Truth About Montessori?

Do You Know the Truth About Montessori? 5 Myths Busted (Part 1)

What is Montessori all about?

Sometimes there are so many voices and opinions out there about Montessori education that it can be confusing! Over the years, many, many myths have surfaced which unfortunately lead to misunderstandings about the philosophy and how Montessori schools operate.

Today, we’re busting some of the most repeated Montessori myths! Did you know the truth about these myths?

Myth 1: All Montessori Schools Are the Same

It’s reasonable to believe that all schools with the word “Montessori” in their name are similar. However, is this accurate?

Truth: There are thousands of Montessori schools around the world (an estimated 20,000 schools total) and no two are exactly the same. Some offer only a preschool program while others have programs through high school.

Anyone can use the title “Montessori” in their school as the word isn’t trademarked. It’s true that many schools that bear the name adhere to the Montessori philosophy and best practices. Yet, others simply use the name without a commitment to the method behind it.

When looking for a Montessori school, seek out a school that’s associated with recognized Montessori organizations. Apple Montessori Schools are members of the International Montessori Society, as well as the New Jersey Montessori Association Corporation. Plus, we are accredited by Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. When you send your children to our schools, you can rest assured that we’ll offer the highest level of Montessori education possible!

Myth 2: Montessori Schools Are Religious

Sometimes, people may confuse Montessori with the word monastery. Other people may have heard of one religious Montessori school and then assume that all Montessori schools are religious. Is there any truth to this belief?

Truth: The Montessori method was actually developed by Maria Montessori, an Italian physician.

Apple Montessori students are briefly introduced to different cultures and world religions through their geography studies. In these studies, as well as lessons in grace and courtesy, children are encouraged to respect the beliefs of others.

Myth 3: Montessori Students Can Do Whatever They Want

Sometimes a Montessori classroom can seem unstructured because of the emphasis on following the child and the fact that children can choose their work. Yet, just because children have some freedom doesn’t mean they can do whatever they want.

Truth: The lessons that the guide gives the children follow a carefully planned structure. The classroom itself is very structured as well, and each material is carefully kept in the exact same place for the whole year.

Montessori believed that “To let the child do as he likes when he has not yet developed any powers of control is to betray the idea of freedom.” In other words, Montessori believed in the idea of freedom within limits.

Here’s what this looks like in the structured freedom of Apple Montessori classrooms:

  • Children are allowed to choose activities to work on as long as they’re using the materials appropriately.
  • Students may choose from approved work spaces.
  • Children are given the opportunity to move through new challenging materials quickly, or on to another experience without waiting for others to catch up. They are also provided the chance to repeat these same activities until mastery is achieved. Their own feelings of accomplishment acts as a reinforcement to succeed. Teachers invite children to new lessons to ensure all children achieve a well-rounded education.
  • Students are expected to follow routines such as using a carpet when working on the floor and returning materials to the shelves when they’re done with them.

Children have freedom as long as they follow the ground rules and routines in the classroom. The carefully constructed freedom within limits in our classrooms creates a beautiful and productive workspace where children can thrive.

Myth 4: A Montessori Education Is Not Balanced Because Children Can Choose to Work Only in Their Preferred Subjects

When people hear that Montessori students can choose their own work, they often worry that children can avoid whole subjects.

Truth: Montessori teachers ensure each child gets a balanced education by giving lessons to the students in each academic area.

At Apple Montessori Schools, our highly qualified teachers monitor each child’s progress. Through inspiring lessons in all subject areas, students naturally become interested in learning in all academic areas. Each child’s unique interests and skills are noted to provide even more enriching and personalized experience. Students build their knowledge over time to achieve mastery in each subject area.

Myth 5: The Montessori Method Suppresses Creativity and Imagination

Have you heard that the Montessori method doesn’t allow children to use their imaginations or be creative?

Truth: Creativity and imagination are encouraged in the Montessori method. Maria Montessori discovered that children need a strong grounding in reality to prepare themselves for more imaginative and creative play.

For this reason, she encouraged followers of her method to offer young children realistic objects, photos, and images up to the age of six. In this way, she believed children would be better prepared to understand the difference between real life and fantasy.

You’ll notice in our Apple Montessori classrooms that books about princesses or talking animals are rare, but children are encouraged to use their imaginations and creativity in many other ways. Arts, music, and drama are important parts of our comprehensive curriculum. We love watching our budding artists and performers as they discover the arts!

Plus, it’s very common for children to play pretend. Yet, children in a Montessori school might be more likely to be found playing house, doctor, or something similar that’s more based in reality than playing Batman.

Finally, Montessori encouraged elementary-aged students to be taught fairy tales and other literature that’s in the realm of “pretend” and fantasy.

We hope you enjoyed busting these 5 myths with us. Please stay tuned for more myths in the next blog post.