As a parent learning about the Montessori method, you may be wondering, “Is my child too old for Montessori?” This is actually a two-fold question. Montessori is a lifestyle and not just a method of education, so there are two different answers.
In From Childhood to Adolescence, Maria Montessori stated, “Education should not limit itself to seeking new methods for a mostly arid transmission of knowledge: its aim must be to give the necessary aid to human development…. For man is a unity, an individuality that passes through interdependent phases of development. Each preceding phase prepares the one that follows, forms its base, nurtures the energies that urge towards the succeeding period of life” (84).
Beginning a Child at a Montessori School
The preference is to begin the child as early as possible in a Montessori setting. An infant and toddler program will help the child develop the routines and skills he or she will come to crave as growth continues.
Early childhood classrooms are the most readily available. This is the ideal starting point for most families. Three-year age groupings allow older students to mentor younger students. A child coming midway into the environment as a four- or five-year-old may have gaps in the knowledge of the classroom sequence. It also limits the mentoring possibilities. Normalization of the child allows for the routines and skills to be established at an early age. Older children oftentimes have a more difficult time developing these skills.
Entering a lower elementary environment is more difficult because of the building blocks that are presented in the early childhood classroom. However, it can still work, especially if that child enters at the beginning of the three-year cycle.
An upper elementary entry is probably the most difficult. For some schools offering this program, they may not accept students this late. At this point in the environment, students need to possess self-motivation and independence. A love of learning is also a key aspect of this environment.
While entry into a Montessori school is more difficult at the older levels, it still can be accomplished.
Is My Child Too Old for Montessori as a Lifestyle?
It is never too late to develop Montessori as a lifestyle. Learning about the method and implementing the routines and concepts will only benefit your family, despite the ages of the children. As a family, you must be invested in its practice.