Making decisions about your child’s early education and care can be challenging. New parents and parents of newborn babies face the decision of whether or not to go back to work, stay at home, enroll their infant in daycare, hire a nanny — or seek out a high-quality early childhood school. It’s a big decision.
Before deciding, consider this: brain development begins at birth. So does education. In fact, in the first six years of life, your child’s brain is in its most plastic state. It is during this time when children develop foundational character traits that are much more difficult to change later on. Traits like creativity, logical thinking, persistence, concentration, a growth mindset, and leadership ability.
The most rapid brain development happens before six years old, and it’s important to capitalize on this exponential growth. Our Nido program begins as early as six weeks old, while most child care programs often don’t start until age two. If you’re going to invest in your child’s education, invest now — don’t wait until college. Here are some reasons why you should consider enrolling your child in Montessori school earlier than later:
- Language development: Montessori teachers are trained to talk a lot, using rich vocabulary and correct grammar. You won’t find baby talk here! We use an intentional method called sportscasting: the teacher describes everything that is happening and everything she is doing as it happens to spur language development. For example, a teacher could say, “Look, John is holding the ball. John, will you give me the ball? John gave me the ball. Now, I’m going to give the ball back.” Verbalizing what is happening as it happens isn’t something people naturally do, but it’s critical for speeding up language development. It's important for children to be in an environment where people are continuously talking. They absorb every single word and pick up on patterns in the way people speak to each other.
- Learned independence and movement: In a Montessori setting, classrooms are optimized to encourage children to practice gross motor and fine motor movement. This environment is especially important for babies because at this age they’re learning to move: to lift up their heads, to push up with their arms, to crawl, to walk, and so on. Infants need to practice these movements, and they need an environment that supports this learning. For example, if a baby is at an age where he is developmentally ready to pull up, he needs a bar or other tool at his level to pull up on and practice that movement. Montessori teachers are knowledgeable about each stage of development and are hyper aware of each individual child’s developmental stage. The classroom is set up for these developmental situations, and the child is exposed to the necessary tools to speed development.
- Social skills: Get separation anxiety out early! Children develop separation anxiety around eight months, when they suddenly grasp that their parents exist apart from them. They don't, however, understand that their parents are coming back. Your child needs practice being away from you, well before preschool. If you start school before then, your child will experience greater success in and confidence in group environments. It’s a healthier transition, because your child learns to deal with change — the separation from the parent — and becomes more social from an earlier age. You’re also improving adaptability by giving your child an opportunity to become comfortable with change and transition.
Child development is progressive and incremental. Every step in the journey proceeds the next step, and builds on earlier steps. The earlier your child enters into a Montessori environment that support and encourages development in the right ways,the better prepared and further along they will be year over year.
Interested in learning more? Get in touch with us today.
Guidepost Montessori is a a global network of schools serving 3,500+ families with early education programs, including Emergency Care for Essential Workers (ECEW) during the COVID-19 crisis. Looking for more free content? Download Guidepost Parent from the App Store for personalized Montessori inspiration and activities.