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Your Montessori Checklist

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

We'd love to introduce your family to HMS' authentic Montessori approach which combines joyful, autonomous learning, with a structured, challenging curriculum. We are Hoboken’s first Montessori school, and the only authentic one, and we are the only Montessori School recognized by the American Montessori Society and licensed by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families in Hoboken, NJ.

All Montessori schools are not alike. It’s important for parents to know that Montessori isn’t a trademarked term and Montessori schools vary widely in the quality of programs they offer. Some offer a fully implemented, authentic Montessori method, while others may just include a few Montessori materials in an otherwise non-Montessori classroom. Hoboken Montessori School is an authentic Montessori school, and we've created a checklist for parents to outline some key differences to look for when exploring Montessori schools.

  1. The training and experience of teachers. HMS directors and Head Teachers are Montessori certified or in the process of becoming certified. A Montessori teacher has a deep understanding of child development and has been thoroughly trained to guide children towards productive and challenging experiences, both individually and collectively, that will provide a firm foundation for their future.

  2. Materials designed to teach and foster independence. Authentic Montessori materials are beautiful, inviting, and imaginative. They teach only 1 skill at a time to allow the child to work independently and master the intended concept. The materials are also “self-correcting.” This means the child is able to identify if they have done an activity accurately and try again without intervention from a teacher.

  3. Mixed-age levels in preschool: learning from each other. A key element of an authentic Montessori approach is the use of mixed-age groups. Instead of placing students in classes with peers of their own approximate age (e.g., all 5-year-olds), preschool students work together in classrooms comprised of mixed ages. Children naturally teach and are taught by their peers. The older kids learn leadership which encourages responsibility as well as creativity and interpersonal skills. Placing students where they can interact with a range of ages, experiences, and abilities provides a far more realistic representation of the world, better preparing children for their teens and adulthood.

  4. Uninterrupted work cycles: flow matters. In most preschool settings, children are scheduled from one activity to the next, in short time bursts: art, activities, snack time, reading, etc. They’re never truly immersed in one activity. Real learning takes time and can’t be fit into 30-minute increments of adult-led group activities. Children have the independence to do things for themselves, at their pace, to develop a flow, and finish an activity. By giving young children choices, we provide the independence to thrive, on their terms, which creates more purposeful living without the duty-bound learning.

  5. Beautiful and calm environments. In the calm, ordered space of a Montessori-prepared environment, a positive discipline approach is exercised. Children are spoken to in a quiet, intentional, and kind way with gentle language. Children are peaceful and engaged while in an authentic Montessori environment. Montessori “prepared” environments are designed to facilitate maximum independent learning and exploration by your child. At HMS, each room has been thoughtfully planned for flow and easy access to materials. Through deliberate instruction in organized activities throughout their day, children experience a place specially designed to meet their developmental needs.

  6. Your child and family are respected. Each child is a cherished member of an authentic Montessori community and is welcomed each day for who they are. Children are to be revered as different from adults and as individuals who differ from each other and learn at their own rate. Every child is unique and given one-on-one attention, so they may receive the essential learning skills to reach their fullest potential. This respect extends to the whole family, whose time and busy life are considered with thorough communication and customer service.

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