Ben Franklin once said, 'An investment in education pays the best dividend.'
All Montessori programs (3-6 year old, 6-9 year old and 9-12 years old) are designed to be a three year cycle and it's not only in the third year that much of what has been learnt finally blossoms. During their first year children are engaged in surface learning of various concepts in different subjects. The second year is a period when children begin to internalize these concepts. The third year is a time when they grow emotionally and academically and gain the confidence to be able to teach their peers. As you all know, the best learning occurs when you tech someone else.
Statistics show when an older child helps a younger child, it is actually the older child who benefits most from the experience. Besides reinforcing their academic knowledge this experience enhances their self-esteem and self-confidence - two qualities which enable children to try new things in later learning and help them become life long learners.
The opportunity to learn at the child's own pace is another advantage in the Montessori classroom. In the Montessori environment children can go as far as their interest and ability will take them because advanced and challenging materials are available to them. They are neither pressured to keep up with other children nor bored by having to wait for others to catch up with them. Long before children are faced with abstract concepts they are able to manipulate concrete Montessori materials and gain an early understanding of many difficult concepts.
The long range benefits of another year in Montessori are more subtle and difficult to recognize. To deprive children of a third year (Kindergarten or Third Grade) of this experience is too deprive them of a year of leadership.
If you transfer your child before this year of fruition, you will probably lose the best return on your investment in education.
Lalita Trehan has been teaching in the Montessori environment for the last 35 years. She had been a member of the Board of Trustees-Texas Center for Education Research, Austin, TX, for 9 years and is Founder/Director of Sugar Creek Montessori School.