Assuming Montessori is right your child, you’ll want to find a school that’s a good fit. In your search for the best Montessori school, it’s important to consult with teachers, educators, and (often) your child.
Start looking at schools early, as much as a year before applying. You can research them here on this site, on individual school websites, at open houses, during on-site visits, at our annual school expos, and other venues.
You’ll need to reflect on several questions during this process.
Consider exactly what you’re looking for in a Montessori school, and why. Your focus should not just be on the school, but on the fit between the school and your child. It’s important, then, to be clear about your child’s personality, learning style, and academic abilities.
Here are some questions to get you started:
You want to have some idea of the kind of environment your child will thrive in academically, socially, physically, and emotionally. With this in mind, you can make the best decision for your child.
There are some standard questions to ask schools when investigating them.
Beyond those, there are also specific questions to ask Montessori schools. These include:
Preschool (toddler and primary)
Elementary and secondary schools
To learn more about the Montessori preschool approach, read our guide to Montessori preschools and comparison of Montessori to other preschools: Montessori vs. Waldorf, Montessori vs. Reggio Emilia, Montessori vs. play-based, and Montessori vs. academic preschools.
To learn about preschools in general, read our guide to preschool, kindergarten, and daycare. If you’re interested in Montessori primary and secondary schools, check out our guides to Montessori elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. You can also check out our comparison of Montessori to other schools (at all levels): Montessori vs. Waldorf and Montessori vs. Reggio Emilia.
When it comes to choosing the right Montessori school, you’ll want to look at its classroom policies. You’ll also want to consider its culture, philosophy, teaching approach, and curriculum, among other things.
There’s no such thing, though, as the best Montessori school. What’s important is the fit between the school and your child (and family). Yet, there are some things you should look for, in any Montessori school, to find the right fit. They include the following:
There is a formal application process for most Montessori schools. The application materials required will be similar to those required for any private school. These may include:
In some cases, though, they may also include:
The application process varies widely for different Montessori schools. Most schools, though, focus a lot on in- and out-of-class observations of your child (especially if they’re coming from a non-Montessori school). They aim to get a full picture of your child’s academic and social/emotional profile. This helps them decide whether they’re a good fit for your child.
The right outlook to have is that the school is working with you, not against you. For more general advice on applying to private schools, see our “getting in” guide. For more information on private schools in general, see our private school basics guide.
The quality of any Montessori program is closely linked to the quality of the teachers running it. Teachers with proper training and strong abilities can often provide the right learning environment for your child. On the other hand, teachers without this expertise often can’t.
It’s important, then, to inquire about the training and credentials of teachers. You should ask school officials whether teachers have specialized Montessori training, as well as what other training and education they might have. You should also ask whether teachers are offered any form of ongoing professional development, such as classes, workshops, or seminars in Montessori education.