It is hard to imagine a preschooler needing to go to school 5 days a week when they are still so little and vulnerable. In my years of teaching, many parents were uncertain about their choice in making a decision to enroll their child where the school wanted them to attend 5 days a week. Montessori classrooms and teachers specialize in child development and are intricately designed to make sure the young child is not overwhelmed with attending school Monday-Friday. Here is why:
1. Montessori classrooms build community. When a child is absent or is not in attendance every day the child finds it hard to build a strong sense of community. They see their peers having stronger relationships with the other children, progressing in lessons, and fully understanding the ground rules of the classroom. Children who attend more days of the week get the opportunity to foster their social skills, practice their grace and courtesy, and have the ability to work directly with their peers and teachers more.
2. Children are making work choices all morning long. Some works take longer to complete than others. The ability for a child to work on something until completion or until their satisfaction is demonstrated. If a child does not have the time to complete their work, they are able to save it for the next day when they return. This makes the child excited to come to school and have the opportunity to complete their work that they were working so hard on the day before. Much like your work, when you are engrossed in something you love to do but run out of time to get the chance to complete it, you can’t wait to get back to it.
3. The environment is set up with the child in mind. From the layout of the classroom to the perfectly displayed trays with the work so carefully organized gives the child the feeling of security and trust. The children know that this is their safe space. They are able to choose their own works as they are all set up at eye level, they can work on large works or find innate objects to carefully manipulate. Whatever the child has in mind to do that day, it is eagerly waiting for them within their classroom.
4. With today’s education system, children need to have self-control, the ability to comprehend what is being taught, and how to socialize on their own at the age of 5. It makes it more challenging when you haven’t been provided a strong foundation. A house can’t stand by itself if the concrete isn’t level and solid. Allowing each child to have the opportunity to build their foundation in levels sets each child up for success. Attending 5 days a week in an environment where all of this is nurtured and so much more prepares the child for a lifelong love of learning!
If you are still undecided about how your 3 or 4 year old can come to school 5 days a week, know that a Montessori school is not a place where it is rigorous or demanding more than what the child is capable of doing. The young child wants to come because it is an extension of their home. They know it is a place they can be the person they are self-constructing and they are welcomed by adults who care for their well-being as much as their mom and dad. Isn’t it a great feeling knowing that while you are at work your child is at work and LOVING being there! Give your child the gift to be able to grow in confidence, collaborate with others, make positive choices, and feel secure with where they are at. 5 day a week preschool gives your child that, especially when you have found the right Montessori school, don’t wait for Kindergarten to teach them that, it may not happen!