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Do children with Montessori education have difficulty adjusting to elementary school?

Freedom in a Montessori environment

Many people may not understand what the so-called ‘freedom’ in Montessori teaching is really like.

If you have ever visited a school that has been created according to strict Montessori standards, you will see that at first glance the children are free to work and choose their work, but this freedom is ultimately created through the principle of “freedom and restriction”.

The common misconception that Montessori children are free to do whatever they want to do is due to a misunderstanding of the balance between freedom and restriction in Montessori theory.

Freedom is not an absolute indulgence, allowing children to do whatever they want to do. True freedom should be “freedom with limits” and should be based on rules.

Kindergarten children are at a sensitive stage of the movement, and it is not realistic for them to sit quietly in their chairs. During individual instruction time, all children are allowed to walk around the classroom, but they should be doing something intellectually beneficial. If he likes to make noise or even interfere with the work of other children, then the teacher is going to stop this behavior and give criticism.

A child who grows up in a “freedom and restriction” teaching environment will naturally know what to do if he wants to strive for his maximum freedom, and so will naturally live in peace with his surroundings, whether that new environment is a Montessori environment or a traditional elementary school environment.

Montessori child vs. traditional kindergarten child

What are the differences?

1. More adaptable environment

Surveys of children who graduate from Montessori schools do not have many cases of maladjustment to the traditional elementary school environment. This is because they have developed strong social skills and abilities in a special mixed-age environment.

Montessori promotes mixed-age education, not leaving it to chance. Older children are taught to be humble and helpful to younger children by the standards set by their teachers, while younger children gain new knowledge and experience by observing and imitating older children. The mixed-age environment provides a change of roles for each child, creating a small social environment that allows them to learn to think differently.

2. Stronger self-care skills

Montessori will set up a daily living area to develop children’s independence, motor coordination, and concentration. The teacher will guide and encourage children to do simple things like buttoning and zipping by themselves. They even rehearse simulations with teaching aids, such as what to do after spilling food. So children under Montessori education are a little better than traditional children in terms of self-care skills and life experience.

3. Knowledge and understanding of more abstract concepts are stronger

This is especially true in mathematics. Children in Montessori schools understand the concepts of counting and the four operations faster than other children. This is due to the fact that math aids present the essence of the four operations in the concrete form at an early age.

4. have a high level of literacy and a love of reading

Note that this refers to the amount of literacy, not the amount of writing. In the Montessori environment, children learn about monograms, and the teacher will systematically and appropriately prepare some combined words for the child and conduct reading recognition activities to create a strong interest in recognizing words and a solid foundation for reading. At the same time, families are constantly encouraged to create an atmosphere of reading.

The Montessori child’s ‘problem’

Of course, Montessori children also have some “problems” or “weaknesses” depending on the way you look at them.

In grades 1 and 2, Montessori kindergarten graduates are not conspicuous, especially in the area of testing. If Montessori schools do not prepare children for the early elementary years, they may not do as well as children in preschool or traditional classes.

In the 3-6-year-old range, if a traditional or preschool class spends 1-3 years repeating, or even training repeatedly, the content of grades 1-2, such as adding and subtracting within 10, it is inevitable that they will excel in grade 1.

Montessori children do not have drills in this area, but they explore not only grade 1-2 math content, but even grade 3 content, and use various teaching aids to touch on many concepts with their essence, as the four operations with thousands and even millions of digits in 3 years.

Thus, it is an interesting phenomenon that as the elementary curriculum becomes more abstract, Montessori children comprehend faster than other children.

In the end, how to adapt to a new environment has very little to do with whether it is a Montessori or a traditional kindergarten. Regardless of the system or mode of instruction, it takes a lot of time for parents and children to prepare in advance. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and your child, and keep a good mindset in order to be better prepared for the new elementary school life.


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