Q: What is the difference between Montessori and traditional education?
A:  Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Every concept is presented with a hands on material for the child to work with and internalize the concept. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to a facilitated choice of activities. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning. Montessori classes place children in three-year age groups (3-6, 6-9, 9-12 and so on), forming communities in which the older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger ones.

Q:  Is it true that a child is allowed to do whatever he wants for as long as he wants?
A:  A child may choose to work with any activity in which he/she has had a lesson. A child may ask for a lesson. If the work the child chooses is inappropriate for his/her developmental stage, the teacher will direct the child to an activity which has elements that have drawn the child's interest and which is a foundation for what the child wants to do.

Q:  How does the teacher know when to direct a child to new activities?
A:  The Montessori teacher's training is different from that of traditional early childhood and elementary teachers in that a great deal of emphasis is on observation. The teacher spends a part of everyday just observing the children, and the assistants are asked to share their observations with the teacher as well. Other ways for the teacher to know that a child is ready for a new lesson include the child asking for a lesson and information supplied by parents and caregivers. The teacher is but a partner in the child's education, and communication among all of those concerned with the child's development allows the teacher to design the environment to meet each child's needs.

Q:  How are a child's mistakes corrected?
A:  Most Montessori activities have a "control of error" built into the work. For example, on a cylinder block each piece fits correctly in only one particular hole. In a classification exercise each category has the same number of objects. A pitcher to be filled by a child has a piece of colored tape inside to show the child to what level the pitcher should be filled to have the best chance of successfully walking from the sink to the work area without spilling the contents.

Q:  Is Montessori good for both learning disabled and gifted children?
A: Montessori is designed to help all children reach their fullest potential at their own unique pace. A classroom whose children have varying abilities is a community in which everyone learns from one another and everyone contributes. Moreover, multi-age grouping allows each child to find his or her own pace without feeling "ahead" or "behind" in relation to peers. Lessons are individualized allowing students who are advanced work ahead and those who need extra time and help are given it along with the encouragement they need to succeed.

Q: I want my child to be academically well prepared. Will WEMS do this?
A:  Definitely. Our goal is to assist each child to become a confident, independent learner and to reach his or her highest academic potential. In addition to the basics, our students learn problem-solving strategies, critical-thinking, conflict resolution, communication and leadership skills. They learn how to learn and are able to use these skills for the rest of their academic careers.

Q: How will my child fit into a traditional program when he or she leaves WEMS?
A: Montessori students are noted for their independent thinking, self-confidence and ability to assume responsibility and leadership. The longer they are in our programs the stronger these characteristics grow.