How many teachers should a montessori classroom have? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 07-08-2008, 11:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello,

Are there a prescribed number of teachers that a montessori preschool classroom should have or does it depend on the number of children in the class? My son is starting preschool in September and his class of 20 will have 2 teachers but I thought 3 was the norm for montessori.

Thanks!
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#2 of 8 Old 07-09-2008, 08:39 AM
 
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A typical traditional Montessori classroom has one director for as many as 30+ students. Montessori classrooms are atypically large in comparison to traditional preschool classrooms because the children are learning both independence (self-directed work) and cooperation (older students helping and modeling to younger students, students working together peacefully).

That said, many Montessori classrooms will have several adults based on state standards. For example, in Ohio, based on state requirements, the typical Montessori classroom of 25ish students will have one director and two assistants. Traditional Montessori would require that the two assistants NOT be formal directors (although IME they do as much facilitating as the director).

You will find schools that implement this differently. I toured a school that had three bachelor's degree trained directresses in each of its primary classrooms. For a variety of reasons, this school diverged from what I would consider "traditional Montessori," but for the most part the classrooms looked and felt like a Montessori classroom - it seemed well executed despite its differences. If I hadn't been asking some in-depth questions, I might not have ever noticed a difference. But this isn't considered standard.
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#3 of 8 Old 07-09-2008, 08:12 PM
 
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DD's school has 6 classrooms and I believe it breaks down something like this:

Infants 0-18 (if a 15 or 16 month old is showing signs of readiness to transfer to the toddler room, they also allow that). I believe they said 9 infants max.
Toddlers 18-24 mo. (This is one of the transition/normalization rooms. I also believe they aren't strict on age requirements +/- a couple of months). This class has 6 or 7 students.
Twos - 24-36 mo. and some 3 year olds that aren't using the toilet 100% of the time. This class has around 12 - 15 students.
Preschool class #1 - slightly more advanced two year olds to near 5 year olds. All are free of diapers and pull ups. (this is DD's class and also the preschool transition classroom). Class has max of 12 students.
Preschool class #2/Pre-K - 3-5 year olds that are normalized (this will be DD's class in Aug.). Class has max of 24 students.
Kindy 5-6 year olds (maybe some 4 3/4 year olds who turn 5 by Dec of that school year). This is a new program for the school this year and they currently have 15 current students enrolled, but will probably max out the classroom at 24. I believe the state max on public K class sizes is 21.

2 of those classes are smaller transition/normalization classrooms with less than 12 students. The toddler transition room has a ratio of about 6:2. DD's class has 12 students enrolled, but not all go 5 days/week. She is usually in a room with at least 6 other children, so most days it's a ratio of 7:1. Because she was new to Montessori, this has worked miracles for her shy and sensitive personality. I think the smaller class size has given her so much confidence and for her to become normalized. The larger preschool class has 24 max with about 15 that go 5x/week. That classroom has 1 head teacher and 1 assistant, so typically it's 15:2 or 21-24:2. I'm thrilled that in August they are moving her to this classroom because honestly I feel that she will get so much more out of a Montessori education in a class of 24 vs. 12.

One of the reasons that I loved DD's school so much is because of their transition rooms. For a child new to preschool or Montessori, I think those first months of normalization need to be in a peaceful low key atmosphere. But once that happens, a class size of 24 to 30 would be more beneficial for the reasons freistms said in her post:

Quote:
A typical traditional Montessori classroom has one director for as many as 30+ students. Montessori classrooms are atypically large in comparison to traditional preschool classrooms because the children are learning both independence (self-directed work) and cooperation (older students helping and modeling to younger students, students working together peacefully).
I hope that helped a little.

An incredibly thankful SAH Mommy to 3 fiendishly enchanting girls 11/04,10/05, & 12/06. 
 
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#4 of 8 Old 07-09-2008, 08:25 PM
 
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Our primary classrooms (3-6yo) have a lead teacher and an assistant teacher. There are about 20 children per class. I'm not sure if this is 'normal' or not, but I can say that it seems to work very well in my DS' class. The teachers seem to have plenty of time to devote to individual instruction as needed.
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#5 of 8 Old 07-09-2008, 09:11 PM
 
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Our school has 2 teachers for nearly 30 kids in a class. We'll see how it works for us come Fall when my oldest starts CH.
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#6 of 8 Old 07-09-2008, 09:35 PM
 
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For just under 30 students in a primary classroom setting, there is one AMI trained teacher, and one assistant. The asst. may or may not be trained as well.
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#7 of 8 Old 07-09-2008, 10:12 PM
 
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At DD2's Montessori preschool, each of the 5 classrooms for 3-6 has 24 students, with 1 directress and 1 assistant. The toddler classroom has 12 students, i directress and 1 assistant. We have a daycare license because there is an All Day community.

The school she is going to next year does not have AMI or AMS credentials, but is more AMS, and no daycare license (Alas! see a previous thread by yours truly) so the preschool classes have 28 to 29 kids, 1 directress, 1 assistant. The elementary classes have 30 to 33 kids, one directress/director, 1 assistant (which is how DD2 got in from a different M preschool). I peeked at a letter from multiple M schools in our great state to the governor, asking him to consider allowing increased student:staff ratios for Montessori schools with rationales based on Montessori theory, it was a good letter, hopefully he'll agree. My EXPERIENCE (not fact) is that bigger classrooms have tended to be more enjoyable/productive for my kids.
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#8 of 8 Old 07-09-2008, 11:40 PM
 
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Montessori stipulates one directress to 35+.

Most state requirements that there should be one or more assistants.

Having experienced coteaching and also directing a class solo (with one "low-key" assistant), I can tell you that it is both easier and has a better effect when there is one person for the children to go to for new lessons and for practicing and refining. When there are two directresses it seems to lend to alot of confusion on the part of the children as far as who to go to and there is also alot more paperwork and meetings on the part of the adults.

When there are more than one adult in the room the children suddenly become much less independent, rely on one another less and are not as likely to work through challenges.

My sweetie and I have a lovely little lady 07/02 and 3 cats
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