The concept of the Montessori School has become a household name in Nigeria over the last couple of years.
It is wonderful to note that a number of serious and fully loaded Montessori schools have started springing up all over the country.
Our parents are now more savvy and search the internet to find out what makes Montessori unique and different.
So as a Montessori school that wants to remain relevant and add value to the lives of the children and families we serve, we may want to checkout a couple of things that our to be parents are looking for.
1. Mixed aged classes:- Yes believe it, most parents who are actually looking for a Montessori school in Nigeria will not register their children in your school if you do not run vertical aged classes!
Now I know that is definitely not what you think parents want, but things have changed. As I said previously, our parents are now in the know. Putting a Montessori signpost outside the school will not cut it anymore.
And if you do run vertical classes are they vertical because you only have 3 children enrolled in Nursery 1 and 2 or is it because you know the value and benefits for the child and you have trained your teachers or employed trained staff members who know how to run such classes.
2. Montessori Trained Staff: If your teachers are graduates its a bonus, but our parents want to know if you teachers are Montessori trained. Mind you it goes without saying that the savvy parents know the difference between a 5 or 10 day Montessori trained teacher, and one who has gone through the proper Montessori training.
One or two questions will sift out the shaft. Also sitting and observing a class gives the savvy parent lots of indication about your staff.
3. Where are the Montessori materials? A couple of years ago it was alright to lock the materials away in the designated Montessori rooms and allow the children some access to the materials on a weekly basis if any.
Now a days, parents who are actively looking for a Montessori school expect to find the materials in easy reach of the children.
Take note if your materials are dusty, displaced and incomplete, you may not be on their list of top choices!
4. What is the discipline policy in the school? Back to the issue of the cane. That is truly a no, no. And it is not because parents don’t want their children to be disciplined,but because of the abuse factors that are attached to the use of the cane.
Apart from the abuse though, a savvy parent is aware that the Montessori method has embedded discipline methods that are effective and not evasive. Why ignore those if you are a true Montessori school and go against the very core of Montessori ethos: Respecting the child! Understanding the child is key. Parents can tell through your discipline policy if you know your craft, that is, understand the child.
5. The Montessori curriculum: Yes a few questions here and there, your to be parent can tell whether you curriculum is Montessori centered or not.
So I would say take an inner look, assess your setting and decide which one you are, or are not.
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The Montessori method of educating children is definitely gaining momentum. I believe it is more mainstream than we are aware of.
The train is moving very fast!
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