Montessori schools have grown immensely in popularity over the years as parents look for solutions from our failed public school system. Sadly, we have learned first hand that Montessori schools are really no different than public schools, in fact, in most cases they are far worse. Most Montessori schools don’t even follow Dr. Maria Montessori’s lead so the fact they even use her name is a misnomer. Unschooling is basically a Montessori approach to homeschooling. Montessori schools are the STATUS QUO whereas Unschooling is the DISRUPTOR. People and most all species on the planet have been self-directing their own learning since the beginning of time.
We originally paid $30K tuition, one of the most expensive tuitions for early education, to enroll our 3 year old son in Marin Montessori School in Corte Madera, California which claims to be one of the oldest and strongest Montessori schools in the nation. After many months of bullying we finally found out from other kids in the class that our son was being bullied by the older kids in the class for months and the more we found out the more disturbed we became. Bullying was happening in this same class the previous years and the school has always done everything to sweep any evidence of their failure to provide kids a positive learning environment under the rug. They hired a San Francisco Law Firm who threatened legal action against my family to silence us from speaking to other parents at the school about our experience. They literally responded to bullying by bullying us when bullying has been an ongoing problem at the school for years.
Then we reached out to the parent organization, Association Montessori International that oversees all the Montessori member schools and they did absolutely nothing to help us, they would not even reach out to the school, and by their emails, they could care less about our experience which is why I quickly found out the ONLY thing they do care about is membership fees from all the schools that are members so obviously asking them to do anything was a major conflict of interest because the truth is they care more about money than they do about the experience of children enrolled in their member schools.
"Too much of what is called ‘education’ is little more than an expensive isolation from reality." Thomas Sowell
“An educator in a system of oppression is either a revolutionary or an oppressor.” ~ Lerone Bennett, Jr.
“If you wanted to create an education environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would create something like a classroom.” ~ John J. Medina, Author of the New York Times Bestseller, [Brain Rules]
"Homeschooled children have greater potential to work outside the box because they are educated outside the box." ~ Thomas Purifoy
The question is, do you want your children to think within the limits of this box or think outside of this box? The world is full of sheep that live and think within the limits of this box, maybe it’s time to open the box and actually wake up. Quit taping it more and more, OPEN it!
1) Home Education
Maria Montessori felt like home learning was optimal, and tried to replicate a home environment and home activities in her schools so it seems that unschooling would actually fit right in with the Montessori belief. Don’t you find it ironic that Montessori classrooms try to resemble a home environment?
2) NO Freedom to Learn
What Montessori schools do is give parents & kids the perception of freedom to learn without actually ever letting them taste it because what we perceive we will believe. Just like most other schools, Montessori kids are confined to a classroom. Inside the classroom, everything is controlled and manipulated, so the kids are only learning what the school wants them to learn. They say it’s more spontaneous and far less structured, but in reality, it’s the exact opposite. Most often, kids will get bored out of their minds seeing the same drab classroom and kids 5 days a week so they end up doing absolutely nothing at school.
Montessori schools are DESIGNED to interfere, prescribe, and RESTRICT a child’s learning. They prescribe a very small, extremely limited learning environment with dismal opportunities to learn, especially in nature, compared to unschooling. Then they further RESTRICT a child’s learning in this environment by determining what they can and can’t do, completely DISEMPOWERING them. In a true Montesssori school, children are not allowed to use a piece of “work” until they have been shown how to use it which completely stifles their creativity because instead of self discovering the many ways something could work, they are shown the one way it does work.** If they haven’t had a lesson (Schooled) on something, the teacher will INTERFERE and put it back.
EPIC FAILS for Montessori schools:
"The teacher’s task is first to nourish and assist, to watch, encourage, guide, induce rather than to interfere, prescribe or restrict." —Maria Montessori
"Supposing I said there was a planet without schools or teachers, where study was unknown, and yet the inhabitants – doing nothing but live and walk about – came to know all things, to carry in their minds the whole of learning; would you not think I was romancing? Well, just this, which seems so fanciful as to be nothing but the invention of a fertile imagination, is a reality. It is the child’s way of learning." ~ Maria Montessori
"It is easy to substitute our will for that of the child by means of suggestion or coercion; but when we have done this we have robbed him of his greatest right, the right to construct his own personality." ~ Maria Montessori
“We cannot know the consequences of suppressing a child’s spontaneity…We may even suffocate life itself.” ~ Maria Montessori
3) Limited Socialization
Since Montessori schools give the guise that kids get to socialize with people of all ages when in reality, they are limited to a class where all the kids are practically the same age with just a 2 year age gap between older kids and younger kids in a class. The idea is that these older kids are supposed to be good influences, leaders, and role models for the younger kids, but since these older kids are so bored after years in this system of oppression, the reality is they resort to troubled behavior such as bullying the younger kids which is a serious problem at Montessori schools just as it is at public schools. Don’t make the same mistake we did in thinking Montessori schools are immune to this. The younger kids then learn to engage in this behavior continuing the cycle. It’s NOT surprising because the whole time these kids are at school, they are being BULLIED by teachers and staff to do things that they would not do if they were given the choice and freedom to learn. What’s worse is these Montessori schools will join all these “troubled kids” who are struggling to succeed in this poor environment into a “Troubled Group”. The Montessori environment literally promotes bullying.
4) NO Responsibility or Accountability
Shockingly, Montessori schools take NO Responsibility for kids safety and NO Accountability for them learning anything which is why we have an epidemic of these kids who are not only falling behind the curve in all facets of life, but they are being RESTRICTED from pursuing their true passions and desires so all around these Montessori schools are failing so many kids, but they get away with it because IT"S THE EXACT SAME THING AS PUBLIC SCHOOL, THE ONLY REAL DIFFERENCE is Montessori schools DON’T HAVE DESKS for every kid. Literally everything else is just FLUFF! And since Montessori schools don’t take ANY responsibility, I honestly think Montessori schools are just one BIG SCAM as the ONLY thing they do protect and take responsibility for is YOUR MONEY. Just like most all schools, Montessori students are PRODUCTS IN A FACTORY where the QUALITY development of the PRODUCT DOES NOT MATTER, they are merely cogs in machine of oppression and servitude.
Montessori schools are beacons of greed, control, power, manipulation, and deceit where profits precede child development which is exactly why they can be much worse then public schools. Montessori schools are run like a DAYCARE BUSINESS more than an actual school.
Since Montessori schools are Non-Profit organizations, and don’t be fooled, this does not mean they don’t make profit, their goal is to maximize profit because ALL these profits are put towards their salaries or the cause in which case very little is actually put towards the cause. This is why most Montessori schools today are run by very controlling and greedy people that are preying on kids as a means to an end.
"When kids are schooled like products in a factory, they end up putting themselves on the market, instead of bringing unique value and creating their own market, which means they are the commodity." ~ Unschooling.com
5) Class Size
The average classroom size for a Montessori school is 24 kids so they don’t even have smaller class sizes like some schools which means kids don’t get the love and attention they need to thrive. The mathematical equation of how much time the teacher is capable of spending with each kid looks like this: 24 ÷ 6 = 0.25 minutes each kid, IF THEY ARE LUCKY, so you have a bunch of troubled kids, teachers who are unable to give them the love and attention they need, and from the TOP DOWN these Montessori schools don’t care that they are failing so many kids which negatively influences the whole class. In reality, Montessori schools are expensive DAYCARES, not a positive environment where kids learn to grow and play.
6) Classroom Academics Over Outdoor Play
The GREATEST failure of Montessori schools is that they are not fun places designed for kids to play, they are designed for them to work just like public school. Play, the most fundamental and important aspect of childhood is severely restricted at Montessori schools. In most cases, your child would have a much better time just taking them to the local playground because the outdoor play spaces most Montessori schools have is extremely limited.
Restricting classrooms of 24+ kids to only 2 necklaces to go outside IS NOT UNSTRUCTURED FREE PLAY and then you wonder why there are so many “Troubled Kids” and it’s getting worse. Often our son would tell us he didn’t get the opportunity to go play outside during class because other kids, especially older kids, most often have the necklaces. Since outdoor playtime is severely restricted and limited to 2 necklaces, many kids end up spending much more time in the classroom doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING than they would if they were given the choice to freely go outside to play. Our kids are not given unstructured playtime, the whole school day is controlled and manipulated, so really at the end of the day, kids have VERY LITTLE choice in doing what they really want to do. At every turn, they are constantly limited in this Montessori environment.
All these things have serious consequences for kids because as Peter Gray said:
"Studies show…Since the mid 1980’s, there’s been a rise in narcissim and a decline in empathy and creative thinking in young people. The DECLINE IN PLAY is roughly linear with the increase in anxiety and depression. Play is where children learn that THEY ARE IN CONTROL of their own life, if we take that away, we don’t give them a chance." ~ The Decline of Play (Ted Talk)
“We have forgotten that children are designed by nature to learn through self-directed play and exploration, and so, more and more, we deprive them of freedom to learn, subjecting them instead to the tedious and painfully slow learning methods devised by those who run the schools.” ~ Peter O. Gray, [Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life]