How does PNCS compare with Montessori Schools?
Parents who consider PNCS sometimes also consider Montessori schools. Sometimes they ask how they compare. Here are some things that we've observed.
Montessori schools are based on the educational philosophy developed by the Italian educator, Maria Montessori (1870-1952). She was a careful observer of the way children learn, and sought a "scientific pedagogy" that worked with the natural learning progressions that take place as children mature. Montessori's observations and methods were similar in some ways to the methods that were developed by 19th century New Church educators like Friedrich Froebel and, later, Alice Putnam.
Some of the key features of a Montessori school include:
- Classrooms ideally have mixed ages of children.
- Students learn concepts by working with materials, more than through direct instruction.
- Children have fairly long blocks of work time.
- Students choose their activities from a set of options provided by the teacher.
- The classroom offers special Montessori educational materials.
- Children are free to move about the classroom.
In comparing PNCS to Montessori schools, there are some strong similarities:
- In both models, classrooms have mixed ages of children.
- In both cases, students learn concepts by working with materials. There might be a little more direct instruction at PNCS than at some Montessori schools.
- Children have fairly long blocks of work time, in both types of school.
- At PNCS, students probably have somewhat less choice about their activities than at a Montessori school, instead doing more whole-group activities.
- In both cases, classrooms offer special educational materials.
- In both models, children are able to move around a lot in the classroom. At PNCS, there's an emphasis on being outdoors, and the children help wiht "duties" every day, getting the school tidied up and ready for the next day.
What differences there are may lie in the the spiritual underpinnings of PNCS:
- PNCS is very family-oriented, and tends to emphasize the value of home life for the youngest children.
- PNCS has religious values and perspectives which infuse our teaching. They aren't in conflict with Montessori methods, but they emphasize the deep foundation of our spiritual lives.
If you are interested in Montessori schools, and can't find quite what you're looking for in this area, come take a look at PNCS. It is something special, and it's well worth a visit to see for yourself.