Thursday, April 16, 2009

What age should we start school?

A question from a prospective parent:

When do I feel children should begin school?

How I feel about when children enter school is very dependent upon the home life and the quality of the school. If children are exposed to a Montessori home life (children are self-directed, independence is encouraged, etc), then waiting until they are older, two and a half or so, to enter a true Montessori program is fine. If the home life is not structured in a Montessori way they should begin in a Montessori program earlier, at 18 months or so. This is not a judge of the home life, but children of this age acheive more in life when they are stimulated in the Montessori way at any early age. Montessori is the only scientifically studied method of education. If they are to be going into traditional preschools or daycares, studies have shown that these do not benefit children in the long run (throughout their school years) and the benefits when they enter Kindergarten are slight. Of course, having them in some social settings before Kindergarten is helpful, whether it is playgroups, workshops at museums or zoos, provided that proper social learning/encouragement is provided (which in these types of settings generally needs to be provided by the parents, the workshop facilitators usually do not run this type of interference).

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