“The greatness of the human personality begins at the hour of birth.”– Maria Montessori
As a parent, you probably recognize that your child’s personality is unique and as different from the next, like a fingerprint or snowflake. But, did you know this may be the single most important factor when choosing childcare for your infant or toddler?
While all young children require patience, respect and engagement in order to thrive and learn, no two do it in the same way, or at the same pace. From almost the minute they are born, children begin to assert who they are and what they need in very singular ways.
Infants and toddlers who are cared for in an environment where individuality is encouraged tend to be more secure, curious, focused and independent, which enables them to reach their full potential both in the classroom and as human beings.
But even parents who recognize the importance of supporting their child’s unique development often feel their neighborhood daycare is just fine – or that a nanny is the best option for their child to receive individualized care.
Is this true? Before you make this important decision for your child, be sure that you know all of your options.
Montessori vs. Traditional Early Childcare Options
Those familiar with Montessori understand that it is based on nurturing each child as an individual—providing an inviting, stimulating environment that promotes exploration and offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity for socialization and personal development.
While there are some daycare programs with caring, conscientious providers, the approach is typically one-size-fits all – hardly the ideal environment to support your child’s individual needs.
Nannies, at first glance, seem to be the clear choice for dedicated, individually-focused childcare.But, how do they stack up against Montessori Infant and Toddler programs?
- Caregiver Education – Nannies are occasionally college educated, but rarely have any special training in infant and toddler care. Rather, most rely on a ‘common sense’ approach, which means they may draw upon experiences they’ve had with other children, are simply employing techniques their own parents used or have formulated their own theories that may or may not be in your child’s best interests.
Montessori Infant and Toddler teachers are passionate and dedicated professionals, who have each completed an comprehensive year-long course our study in child development from birth to age three.
- Environment – Nannies must utilize the homes in which the child lives, with occasional forays to a park to encourage development and stimulate awareness. While outings to child-friendly spots are wonderful, they are but brief moments in a child’s day. And, understandably, the majority of households are set up to best suit the needs of resident adults, not children.
Montessori Infant and Toddler programs provide a cozy, nurturing atmosphere that, to your child, feels as safe and loving as home, but is also designed specifically a space that promotes independent exploration, sparks young imaginations and bolsters confidence.
- Socialization – Nannies are typically the only people the children in their care interact with on any given day. Even in the case of siblings, interactions between these children and with their caregivers tend to follow a routine, thereby denying children the real world experience of socializing with a diverse group of friends.
Montessori programs allow children to experience new people naturally, as they are encouraged to appreciate the joy new friends bring, learn skills that bring about compromise and harmony, and develop the ability to form respectful, mutually beneficial relationships with each other.
- Results – Nannies are often adequate at preparing children for conventional education through memorization and routine, thereby ensuring satisfactory performance on standardized tests, proficiency at recitation and contentment in following direction.
Montessori early childcare programs have been proven to elevate the abilities of school-age children in the areas of executive function (working memory, mental flexibility, self-control), reasoning, academic skills related to school readiness, creativity and social skills.
The contrast is clear and the proof is compelling. While nannies and are certainly capable of thoughtful, devoted care giving and prepping for a conventional education, Montessori comprehensively prepares children for life through focus on the individual, encouragement of exploration, emphasis on community and engagement of independent thought.
Wake Forest Montessori School has been providing extraordinary children with exceptional, specialized care and education since 2006. Click here to learn more or to schedule a tour.