What happens when students move on to other schools after being in a Montessori classroom?

By the end of age five, Montessori children are normally curious, self-confident learners who look forward to going to school.  They are normally engaged, enthusiastic learners who honestly want to learn and who ask excellent questions.

Montessori children by age six have spent three or more years in a school where they were treated with honesty and respect.  While there were clear expectations and ground rules, within that framework, their opinions and questions were taken quite seriously.  Unfortunately, there are still some teachers and schools where children who ask questions are seen as challenging authority.

In is not hard to imagine an independent Montessori child asking his new teacher, “But why do I have to ask each time I need to use the bathroom?” or, “Why do I have to stop my work right now?”  We also have to remember that children are different.  One child may be very sensitive or have special needs that might not be met well in a teacher-centered traditional classroom.  Other children can succeed in any type of school. 

There is nothing inherent in Montessori that causes children to have a hard time if they are transferred to traditional schools.  Some will be bored.  Others may not understand why everyone in the class has to do the same thing at the same time.  But most adapt to their new setting fairly quickly, making new friends, and succeeding within the definition of success understood in their new school. 

There will naturally be trade-offs if a Montessori child transfers to a traditional school.  The curriculum in Montessori schools is often more enriched than that taught in other schools in the United States.  The values and attitudes of the children and teachers may also be quite different.  Learning will often be focused more on adult-assigned tasked done more by rote than with enthusiasm and understanding.

There is an old saying that if something is working, don’t fix it.  This leads many families to continue their children in Montessori.  With the addition of the MSW Middle School class, families have an option to continue their Montessori students through ninth grade.

Middle School students have transferred to the finest private schools in the Baltimore-Washington metro area, such as McDonogh, St. Paul, Garrison Forest,

Students from the Montessori School of Westminster have also successfully transitioned to all high schools within the public school systems in Carroll County and beyond. 

Adapted from “The Montessori Way,” by Tim Seldin & Paul Epstein Ph.D., published by the Montessori Foundation, 2006.