When exploring various options on where to send their children for Kindergarten, many parents often consider programs such as the Montessori program, veering from the traditional classroom approach.

The Montessori education is a child-focused approach that Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician, developed for educating children.

“Montessori education is a time-tested, front-runner in education reform,” said  a representative for Guidepost Montessori at Birmingham. “More parents today are questioning if conventional methods of teaching are truly setting children up for success in life, while struggling to fully align with the alternative education movement where academics are often left unstructured. What makes Montessori education ideal is that it is a ‘third option’ in the middle of this pendulum. Students experience agency to lead their learning and follow their interests, but there is still a structured core of foundational knowledge that they are introduced to.”

A Guidepost Representative said within their organization, they have experienced a rapid growth as Montessori education continues to grow globally.

Since opening the first Guidepost Montessori school in 2016, they are now preparing to open the 100th Montessori school this spring, with the majority of them based in the United States.

When considering the differences between a Montessori program, versus a traditional kindergarten, and the Guidepost representative said Montessori children learn how to learn rather than waiting to be told what to learn.

“Kindergarten in Montessori is the final year of the Montessori Children’s House program, which is a three-year learning community that combines preschoolers and kindergartners,” the representative said. “Each year of the program is purposeful, and is often compared to building a house. In their first year, the three-year-old lays a foundation. At age four, they start to build the walls, and by age five, the child is ready to secure the roof. The child keeps progressing by deepening their knowledge with new layers, it is not the same experience year after year.”

For many children who have experienced the Montessori approach to education, they tend to excel academically, socially and emotionally, the representative said. The Montessori Method helps prepare children for life–not for any one particular system of education.

“Montessori environments actively nurture executive functioning skills—which are things like the ability to plan, follow-through, initiate, problem-solve, manage one’s time,” a representative said. “In Montessori, there is a greater autonomy for each child to lead their learning and engage these life skills. These life skills are essential to our success outside of school and in the real world.”

Sometimes the financial aspect can play a role in parents deciding where to send their children to school, and a representative for Guidepost said the Montessori program is continuing to develop ways to improve accessibility to the program.

“Every Guidepost Montessori campus offers financial aid, and we are proud to partner with Child Care Aware of America, as a participating provider of tuition assistance for military families,” a Guidepost representative said. “We have also developed programs that deliver our Montessori curriculum outside of our schools so that families can access this path from anywhere in the world in a way that best meets their individual needs. Our at-home programs are an example of this, where we offer a low-cost online homeschool subscription at $99 a month, as well as a robust virtual school alternative that has become a preferred enrollment path for thousands of families to date.”

Geographic accessibility is also something the program is working to figure out, honoring the fact that learning is not limited to a classroom–and that some families need to travel or move frequently as part of the demands of their careers.

Guidepost families can seamlessly transfer between or programs as part of a network-level continuity where learning naturally intersects with living.

Montessori education seeks to raise lifelong learners who develop skills to adapt, create, and collaborate.

Guidepost Montessori partners with the MACTE-accredited Prepared Montessorian Institute, where educators, caregivers and parents of all experience levels are welcome to discover more about Montessori education at their own pace.