Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston, Texas. Child care Montessori provider in Champions, The Woodlands, Spring Texas Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston
Editorial Archives
Conventional wisdom in the preschool world is that smaller is better, meaning class size or staff:child ratio. Schools with smaller groups assume that the teacher is the source of instruction, a very limited resource. They reason that as the number of children decreases, the time that teachers have to spend with each child increases. Montessori primary classrooms are designed to have 25 to 35 children, not just in one developmental plane, but from the ages of 3 to 6. In the Montessori classroom, the teacher understands that the secret to learning is learning independently, retaining the curiosity, creativity, and intelligence with which each child is born.

The environment is rigorously prepared to reinforce every childís independence and intellectual development. The child becomes free to learn from older children who have already mastered the material, from an individual lesson given by the directress, or by teaching a younger child, thereby reinforcing what has been practiced before. This process is good for both the tutor and the learning child. In this class situation, the teacher is not the primary focus. The larger group size of the Montessori classroom shifts the focus from the adult and encourages children to learn from each other and from the environment. By having several children in each age group, all students find others at their developmental level, some maybe older, some younger. The process becomes organic rather than institutional, individual rather than lockstep.

Montessori teachers rarely present a lesson to more than a handful of children at a time, and they limit lessons to brief, efficient presentations. The goal is to give the children just enough to capture their attention and spark their interest, intriguing them enough that they will come back on their own to work with the materials. Then the teacher closely monitors her studentís progress, keeping the level of challenge high.

Because the class has mixed age groups, only about one-third of the children will be changing in any given year. This creates a fairly stable community in which the child can feel a lot of security by knowing both the teacher and the students from year to year. Because the directress normally works with each child for two or three years, teachers get to know a studentís strengths and weaknesses, interests, and anxieties extremely well. The teacher often uses the childrenís interests to enrich the curriculum and provide alternate avenues for accomplishment and success. This routine continues year round, providing a consistency that the children can trust. Our children tend to learn to read just as well in July as they do in January.