Recently we’ve had some questions about why Peace of Mind is the better choice for learning rather than other schools, and more specifically a Montessori type school. The surprising answer is, there are a very few, key differences which we believe make Peace of Mind the superior choice.

At Peace of Mind, we use Core Knowledge curriculum, which is specifically designed to provide your child with the solid foundation he or she will need for later learning in kindergarten and beyond. The Core Knowledge Preschool Program is based on scientific research about how young children learn, as well as research into the best preschool practices around the world. Core Knowledge focuses on: identifying specific learning goals, setting high expectations for everyone, and teaching specific content and skills that will allow children to be successful in kindergarten, and later grades.

A Montessori curriculum is based on Dr. Maria Montessori’s scientific observation of children’s learning processes. “Guided by her discovery that children teach themselves, Dr. Montessori designed a ‘prepared environment’ in which children could freely choose from a number of developmentally appropriate activities.” It was Dr. Montessori’s understanding that children like to work as well as play. She believed children have a natural drive to “work” in order to develop.

There are many similarities between a Montessori type education and Peace of Mind’s use of Core Knowledge curriculum. Both are based on the scientific observation of a child’s learning process. Both depend on a teacher prepared environment of developmentally appropriate items and activities. Montessori schools and Peace of Mind both use learning centers spread throughout the classroom that appeal to many different interests and levels of ability. As in Montessori schools, Peace of Mind believes in helping children learn by doing the “work” of repetition, and the practice of tasks.

The most often cited difference between Montessori learning centers, and traditional schools, is the composition of a classroom. Peace of Mind’s preschool ratio is 1 teacher to 10 children, while the Montessori preschool ratio is 1 teacher to 30+ children, due to their use of multi-age classrooms. At Peace of Mind, children of different age groups may interact, as long as the ratio for the youngest child is maintained.

Montessori is often defined as “a system of education for young children that seeks to develop natural interests and activities rather than use formal teaching methods.” While Peace of Mind also believes in free play, self directed activities, and child initiated learning, we also make sure there are no gaps in your child’s learning by using the highly structured Core Knowledge sequence of curriculum.

For example, a Montessori school may teach a lesson involving cooking, and it would most likely do so only in a work based setting – the kitchen. At Peace of Mind, we may teach the exact same kitchen skills, but have the ability to utilize our kitchen, a toy kitchen center, and a dramatic play area, as well as use kitchen tools like measuring cups and scales in our science center, have recipes and menus in our writing center, and use empty food packages, such as cereal boxes, in our block/small motor center. Our classrooms are constantly changing to reflect our current learning theme, as directed by the Core Knowledge sequence, therefore providing an endless possibility of teachable moments, both child AND teacher directed.

We encourage you to learn more about Core Knowledge, and to ask questions about the differences between Peace of Mind and other learning centers. We are proud of our curriculum and lesson plans – of how we develop them and perform them, to engage your child and ignite his or her passion for learning!