Originally Posted by Mrs489
Montessori schools can vary widely, as the term "montessori" is not regulated in any way. Many schools have national affiliations that are some guarantee of quality (ami is the strictest, ams is a bit more relaxed in general). If you are considering a Montessori school, I'd visit and plan to stay a while observing a work period. That will give you a good idea if it's the right place for your child. Make sure at least the lead teacher has a nationally recognized Montessori training certificate (accredited by NAMTE), preferably a hands-on course rather than a correspondence course. Ask about licensing as you would when considering a daycare, and the experience/turnover of the staff.
The Montessori method is a child-centered academic program. The children are "taught" individually or in small groups, and much "teaching" happens with few words, just demonstration. Children are allowed freedom to choose which work they do, and move through the curriculum at their own pace. The classroom is divided into several areas, where the "works" are displayed attractively on low shelves. There is an area for practical living exercises (pouring, spooning, food prep, polishing, flower arranging), Sensorial materials (pink tower, broad stair, knobbed cylinders, geometric cabinet), math, language, geography, science, art. The children typically have a long (1.5 hours) uninterrupted work time, short group times for stories and songs, and time to play outdoors.
Any questions feel free to PM me, before I was a SAHM I was a Montessori teacher/director of school.