Search
 
 
 

Why do Montessori schools want children to enter at age three?

Dr. Montessori identified four "planes of development," with each stage having its own developmental characteristics and developmental challenges. The Early Childhood Montessori environment for children age three to six is designed to work with the "absorbent mind," "sensitive periods," and the tendencies of children at this stage of their development.

Learning that takes place during these years comes spontaneously without effort, leading children to enter the elementary classes with a clear, concrete sense of many abstract concepts. Montessori helps children to become self-motivated, self-disciplined, and to retain the sense of curiosity that so many children lose along the way in traditional classrooms. They tend to act with care and respect toward their environment and each other. They are able to work at their own pace and ability. The three-year Montessori experience tends to nurture a joy of learning that prepares them for further challenges.

This process seems to work best when children enter a Montessori program at age two or three and stay at least through the kindergarten year. Children entering at age four or five do not consistently come to the end of three-year cycle having developed the same skills, work habits, or values.

Older children entering Montessori may do quite well in this very different setting, but this will depend to a large degree on their personality, previous educational experiences, and the way they have been raised at home.

Montessori programs can usually accept a few older children into an established class, so long as the family understands and accepts that some critical opportunities may have been missed, and these children may not reach the same levels of achievement seen in the other children of that age. On the other hand, because of the individualized pace of learning in Montessori classrooms, this will not normally be a concern.


Pioneer Valley Montessori School, 1524 Parker Street, Springfield, MA 01129 • 413-782-3108

Web Design by