FAQ

Do you wonder about Montessori pedagogy? Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Montessori pedagogy is based on respect for the child’s rhythm. At la Maison des Enfants, apart from a specific problem, children generally start reading around the age of 5, without having been forced to do so. Here it is not a sign of precocity.
For children who have been tested early, Montessori pedagogy allows them to develop and learn at their own pace in an environment that is favourable to them and where they can give the best of themselves.
The children learn to respect each other and to progress at their own pace. They only compare themselves to themselves, not to others! The teaching materials have been developed so as not to encourage comparisons of performance. The child does not attract mockery or jealousy from others.

The material is abundant enough to allow them to deeply explore an area they are passionate about. They can therefore progress quickly in subjects where they have a real gift while remaining children of their true psychological age.

Studies on early children have shown that they lose the taste for effort because they are confined to things that are too easy for them. They often find themselves in trouble on the day when they have to make a real effort; this is a significant cause of early school failure.
Children who have “skipped” one or two classes find themselves the only ones of their age and are therefore confronted with a maturity gap. They feel out of place with older children who do not share the same interests.

It is important that the precocious child feels respected and that his enthusiasm for learning is stimulated.

At la maison des enfants, the children feel particularly happy to be in a pedagogy where they can give the best of themselves.

This text is inspired by an article found on the website of “l’Ecole de la Vie“, à Annecy (74).

Maria Montessori had observed that the little ones observe the big ones as role models, and that the big ones (when they are used to it) learn to help the little ones instead of trying to dominate them.

It is very useful for a child to be the youngest once, then after the oldest in one cycle, before becoming the youngest in the next cycle .

We can see that children love to help each other and that they have more patience when explanations are given by a peer, rather than by the adult.

Age mixing is particularly effective in group work where everyone naturally finds their place.

This text is inspired by an article found on the website of “l’Ecole de la Vie”, in Annecy (74).

The comparison is possible but not at any time.

Indeed, on the one hand the chronological order of acquisition and especially the way of approaching knowledge is different from that of the traditional system, but above all each child within the school has a different pace of learning.

This inevitably results in differences in knowledge even between two pupils of the same age who have spent the same period at school.
Montessori education leaves nothing to chance, and the learning of certain complex concepts can take several months.

Parents are often surprised to see that the child will be able to integrate concepts that seem very complex to them thanks to material that was presented to him or her very early on.

In the end, the Education Nationale program is a minimum objective that is generally respected.

n a Montessori environment, there’s a balance between structure and freedom.
First of all, the child will learn the framework and rules that maintain the atmosphere essential to Montessori education.
Then the idea of freedom, the one that leads to responsibility, is gradually introduced to the children.
While providing them with different paths to follow, we give them the means to make wise, enlightened choices that respect the social values in which they grow up.

Does this mean that the child does everything he or she wants at school?
NO! The child learns self-discipline, which is very different from no discipline.

Undisciplined and inexperienced children are not really free, but rather are slaves to their immediate desires, and the older they get with inappropriate behaviour, the more difficult it will be to change that behaviour.
In reality, destructive behaviour makes the individual who perpetuates it unhappy.

Being free means much more than “doing what the individual wants to do”, being free also and above all implies the ability to be able to distinguish and to be able to choose what is beneficial and constructive for oneself and then to be able to carry these choices through to completion.

At the Children’s Home, the only real limit that each one sets for himself is respect: for himself, for others and for the environment in which he evolves.

Relaxation on the form is by no means synonymous with laxity on the substance.

A child who is respected does not need to provoke or make his moves from behind.

Older pupils are a permanent example for younger ones. They know that it is more pleasant to be admired than to be a counter-example.

The limits are set according to the general interest, the freedom of each person stops where the freedom of others begins…

This text is inspired by an article found on the website of “l’Ecole de la Vie”, in Annecy (74).

In France, all non-contract schools are regularly inspected by the French National Education system.
For a private school, being under contract allows teachers to be paid by the National Education.
Unfortunately, it is only possible today to obtain a contract if you employ teachers from the French National Education system.
In order to scrupulously respect the principles of Montessori education, we have made the only other possible choice, that of the status of “private school without contract”.

For example, the learning of reading is done by the syllabic method, it seems unthinkable to us to do it otherwise, which did not correspond to the rules of the National Education until very recently.
Nevertheless, if the National Education continues to modify its pedagogy in this direction, it will join Montessori’s one!

And how can parents assess the child’s level?

Educators regularly help each child to evaluate his or her work and achievements.

They do not give out good or bad marks, considering that figures cannot reflect the quality of a child’s personal work.

Above all, they do not make value judgements.

On the other hand, the child is closely monitored and the teacher notes each stage of the child’s development on a roadmap.

It includes the material that has been presented to him, the material he has integrated and the material he still has to work on…

During meetings with the parents, the educator uses this document to work on the child’s construction. Observation of the children is important in order to understand each child’s path.

Even if parent-educator exchanges regularly take place informally, the personal interviews, requested by the parents or educators, are an opportunity to take stock of the situation.

This text is inspired by an article found on the site of the “School of Life”, in Annecy (74).

Montessori pedagogy develops the child’s autonomy, self-confidence and self-discipline. These values are imbued in him for life.

The child can adapt more quickly to new situations such as a move, a change of language environment, a change of school and therefore a change of pedagogy.

He can adapt positively to new situations since he has developed concentration and self-discipline, has experienced pleasure and the desire to learn and is well adapted socially.

These abilities promote the pursuit of knowledge throughout life and allow the child to integrate easily into any new system.

It is certain that a child brought up in this respect will find differences in other school systems (especially if it is in France) which are marked by greater rigidity.

Experience proves that these children adapt well to the new constraints and retain the qualities developed during their Montessori years.

If the parents let us know a little bit in advance that the child is going to leave us, it allows us to prepare him/her for this future change and so it goes very well.

Most of the children who have left us have joined traditional public or private (contract) schools.

The 2 main difficulties encountered by the children afterwards concern :

- The overwhelming amount of homework given at home which leaves no room for sports, cultural and artistic activities.

- The fatigue caused by a rhythm that is not their own.

Finally, children who skip one or two classes find it more difficult to integrate into their new class…

This text is inspired by an article found on the website of “l’Ecole de la Vie”, in Annecy (74).

Beyond pedagogy, learning involves the manipulation of many materials.

In a Montessori class there are more than 500 activities and works that are made available to the children, one by one.
These works are not didactic aids strictly speaking because they do not serve to “teach” or instil learning, but rather to assist the child in his or her inner work of self-creation and mental development.
They promote learning by capturing the child’s attention and developing concentration.
It is by handling materials that children develop coordination, attention to detail and good work habits.

This material that may seem so magical when you’ve never seen it before is actually confusing in its simplicity and effectiveness.
It uses all of the child’s learning channels (auditory, kinesthetic, visual and sometimes even taste and smell).
It often takes the form of a 2D or 3D puzzle, beads, graphic boards…

Only a presentation by a Montessori educator can make you understand the power of the material. Ask for an appointment! And come with your child…

This text is inspired by an article found on the website of “l’Ecole de la Vie”, in Annecy (74).

In Montessori pedagogy, children learn to read with the phonetic method.

The Montessori material allows the simultaneous learning of reading and writing.

As the limbs necessary for this writing are not yet sufficiently developed in the youngest children, the child will have been prepared beforehand (at the muscular and articular level) by the numerous manipulations of the “sensory development material”.

He will first learn the phonetics of the letters and then associate them with each other. He will then move on to the simple phonemes and will end up with the more complicated ones; at the same time, he will have learned to write words and will already be correcting some spelling mistakes!

Ask an educator to introduce you to all the material and you will understand instantly…

This text is inspired by an article found on the website of “l’Ecole de la Vie”, in Annecy (74).

Although Maria Montessori was deeply religious (Catholic), “la Maison des Enfants” does not believe that it is her job to instill any belief in children, but rather that it is the role of the parents. Like any secular school, it respects the beliefs and cults of each individual. “La Maison des Enfants” is keen to remain independent of all religious, sectarian and political ideology. This is also stated in the school’s internal regulations.