By Kimberly Wise
The Faces of Education Montessori vs Waldorf
ust as there are many different types of children out there, there are also lots of great options for educating children.What works for one might not work for another and what may
be your dream may not be your child’s correct fit. Although there are tons of options for educating your children, we will only cover a few here while comparing and contrasting directly related or similar options. Some of these methods may not be as common as traditional public or private school, so we felt it was beneficial to educate parents on these types of schooling as well.This is by no means exhaustive and you may find something that works better for your family. This is okay. As long as your child is being
Montessori schools, named after their founder, Dr. Maria Montessori (as a side note, she was the first woman physician in Italy), are places that look very different from more traditional schools. Montessori believed that children were naturally intelligent and that their development was marked by three-year changes. So in a Montessori preschool, for instance, there are children who range in age from three years to six years.This is the time of life Montessori called the period of the “conscious absorbent mind,” believing that children of this age seek out sensory input, regulation of movement, order, and freedom to choose activities and explore them deeply. The Montessori teacher shows the utmost respect to their students.Teachers act as facilitators, working individually and in small groups rather than as directors of the learning. Children work alone or in groups, working on small mats, using Montessori self-correcting materials. In a Montessori preschool, there are four distinct learning areas: Practical Life (fine and gross motor skills, Sensorial (learn shape, sound, form, feel, and color discrimination), Language and Reading, and Math. Waldorf schools were founded by Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian scientist and philosopher. Steiner believed in a unity of spirit, soul, and body, and Waldorf schools reflect that in their common theme of heart, head, and hands. One could say that Montessori is grounded in more practical application while Waldorf enjoys the more imaginative side of childhood. Waldorf schools group children in three cycles of seven-year stages.
challenged, and prepared for a future that won’t involve your direct interference, everything is going to be fine.
CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: The Schut family likes the location of Athens Montessori and often bikes as a family to school; Ben Kibbe, age 3, at Waseca Montessori working with the manipulatives; Anna Evans, age 3, at Lifespan Montessori building a birdhouse.