Frequently Asked Questions
What is a “Montessori” education?
Metropolitan Montessori School is inspired by the educational philosophy of Maria Montessori, and interpreted for children of the 21st century in New York. Some of the Montessori approaches followed by MMS include:
- Mixed-age classrooms to foster student mentoring
- Specialized materials that allow for hands-on exploration and learning
- Child directed projects
- Lesson plans catering to the individual child, which allows them to progress at an accelerated pace
- Community and character building through lessons of grace and courtesy
You can learn more about Montessori’s philosophy here.
What distinguishes MMS from other independent schools in New York City?
MMS is the only accredited Montessori school in Manhattan that offers an elementary program. The school is accredited by both the American Montessori Society and the New York Association of Independent Schools. The school is small, but offers a rich and varied curriculum encompassing math, language arts, social studies, visual arts (including woodworking and ceramics), performing arts (including drama, choral music, violin, movement, and dance), foreign language (Spanish and French), technology, science and nature studies at Black Rock Forest, and physical education and health.
How does MMS prepare students for ongoing schools?
MMS graduates attend highly selective public and independent high schools in New York City, and go on to graduate from excellent colleges, universities, and professional schools. Known for their social and emotional resilience, responsible work habits, and inner confidence, our alumni are adaptable, having learned to work successfully on their own, in groups, and alongside their teachers. They are active in their school communities, pursuing a range of academic interests, extra-curricular activities, community service projects and hobbies.
How is Montessori education relevant in the 21st century?
In today’s fast paced age of information, we have a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. Therefore, an education that teaches children how to learn and focuses on perseverance, independence and confidence is what is valuable. Our educational philosophy is not dedicated to the memorization of facts but instead teaches children how to become life long learners. Our Montessori education teaches children how to make good decisions; how to organize, plan and self-direct their work; how to communicate with a variety of tools and to different audiences; how to adapt and think creatively; and how to reflect, be pro-active, think long-term, and improve through learning.
If children work at their own pace, don’t they fall behind?
Although students are free to work at their own pace, they’re not going it alone. The Montessori teacher closely observes each child and provides materials and activities that advance his learning by building on skills and knowledge already gained. This gentle guidance helps him master the challenge at hand—and protects him from moving on before he’s ready, which is what actually causes children to “fall behind.”
Do Montessori teachers follow a curriculum?
Montessori schools teach the same basic skills as traditional schools, and offer a rigorous academic program. Most of the subject areas are familiar—such as math, science, history, geography, and language—but they are presented through an integrated approach that brings separate strands of the curriculum together. While studying a map of Africa, for example, students may explore the art, history, and inventions of several African nations. This may lead them to examine ancient Egypt, including hieroglyphs and their place in the history of writing. The study of the pyramids, of course, is a natural bridge to geometry. This approach to curriculum shows the interrelatedness of all things. It also allows students to become thoroughly immersed in a topic—and to give their curiosity full rein.
How well do Montessori students do compared to students in non-Montessori schools?
There is a small but growing body of well-designed research comparing Montessori students to those in traditional schools. These suggest that in academic subjects, Montessori students perform as well as or better than their non-Montessori peers. In one study, for example, children who had attended Montessori schools at the preschool and elementary levels earned higher scores in high school on standardized math and science tests. Another study found that the essays of 12-year-old Montessori students were more creative and used more complex sentence structures than those produced by the non-Montessori group. The research also shows Montessori students to have greater social and behavioral skills. They demonstrate a greater sense of fairness and justice, for example, and are more likely to choose positive responses for dealing with social dilemmas. By less stringent measures, too, Montessori students seem to do quite well. Most Montessori schools report that their students are typically accepted into the high schools and colleges of their choice. And many successful grads cite their years at Montessori when reflecting on important influences in their life.
“We fell in love with the facility, the faculty and the politeness of the students. When we originally toured the school, we were amazed at how well behaved the students were. They said thank you, held the doors for us, smiled when walking past us ... No school we toured came even close to MMS with this and our choice was easy about where we wanted to send our child.”