• Montessori Kindergarten: Now Your 5 year-old is a Leader

    Now Your 5 year-old is a Leader

    By Colleen Noll


    By the third year of their cycle, Montessori Kindergarten children have been waiting two years to become one of the older students in the class – they are now the “Leaders”.

    The Montessori Kinders naturally help the younger children do their work, even giving them lessons.

    Time and time again, research has shown that when one person is teaching another, the “teacher” often learns just as much, if not more, than the other student.

    Every day in the Montessori classroom we see it: Teaching reinforces learning.

    Beyond Academic Achievement

    Kinders in the Montessori Primary classroom (3-6 year-olds) play a very important role in the classroom environment, providing guidance to the younger children, as the previous Kinders once did for them.

    In this natural leadership role the Montessori Kindergarteners:

    • are empathetic
    • have increased self-confidence
    • display high enthusiasm for the learning process
    • know the in’s & out’s of the daily classroom routine
    • are conscious of being the oldest in the class – a time they have waited for with great anticipation
    • demonstrate collaboration and a willingness to ask for help
    • exert positive peer pressure that serves to propel all of the children in the classroom forward

    Having grown up together in a mixed age classroom, the Montessori Kindergarten students look out for one another, regardless of differences in age.

    All skills and traits they can use to adapt to any new situation throughout their life.

    What do Sergey Brin, Peter Drucker and P. Diddy all have in common?

    “When it comes to producing creative business leaders, a Montessori education has proven to be a potent predictor of future success.

    The unique and widely lauded education method, created more than a century ago by an Italian physician and education visionary, is built around the concept of self-directed learning, mixed-age classrooms, collaboration, creativity and social responsibility.

    Eliminating the rigid structures of conventional classrooms, a Montessori school encourages students to embrace their curiosity, think imaginatively and see the world as an array of possibilities. In other words, it is an innovation incubator at the most basic level. And not surprisingly, the method has spawned a long list of overachievers.

    When TV journalist Barbara Walters interviewed Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 2004 and asked what drove their success, she received an unexpected response: “nursery school.”

    Page and Brin are products of a Montessori education. “We both went to Montessori school,” said Page, “and I think (our success) was part of that training, not following rules and orders and being self-motivated, questioning what’s going on in the world, doing things a little bit different.”

    When you can teach something, you fully understand it.

    This a firm belief shared by educators of all types but fully embraced and exemplified by Montessori Guides in particular.

    What the Montessori Guide might expect from a Kinder student:

    • help welcome new friends to class
    • give lessons to a younger peer
    • help younger children with their jacket or shoes
    • read and help sound out words to 4 year old’s
    • help with difficult words while learning to read

    Montessori Kindergarteners have many opportunities to become the classroom leaders, a role which they typically take on naturally and eagerly.

    Learning by Teaching

    Giving lessons to the younger children requires that the lesson-giver (Kinder) reduce complex concepts to their simplest elements and then convey them with clarity and understanding.

    If they cannot, it is clear that they need a lesson before going on!

    The Montessori guide sees this, and will come back with the Kinder student another day and re-present the lesson.

    Thus, without fully realizing what they are accomplishing, the Kinder children internalize and consolidate the academic skills they have acquired for two years before launching into the next three-year cycle.

    The younger children naturally search out the 3rd years for help. Learning from each other is very rewarding and impactful for the children.

    The Early Characteristics of a Leader

    Advanced academics are certainly a great and critical benefit of the Montessori Kindergarten year. However, it is important to understand that your child is becoming a confident, kind and self assured person – the early characteristics of a leader.

    When choosing a kindergarten for your child, we understand that it is different and difficult to understand why your child would not enter into a “new classroom” The “Kinder class”.

    As I have hopefully conveyed in this blog, these leadership skills, mastery, and confidence would not happen without being able to become the leader of the classroom in an environment in which they already know so well.

    Thanks for reading and until next time,

    “Children First, Always.”

    “A child who has become master of his acts through long and repeated exercises, and who has been encouraged by the pleasant and interesting activities in which he has been engaged, is a child filled with health and joy and remarkable for his calmness and discipline.”

    -Dr. Maria Montessori, ‘The Discovery of the Child’, Clio Press Ltd, 92