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You have questions and we have answers!

Parents often ask questions regarding their children and the work they do while in the classroom. The Montessori classroom offers a prepared environment that helps children learn and grow. Some parents have asked questions about this environment and the different work happening within the classroom. Here are a few frequent questions asked by our parents and answered by experts, our Montessori-certified teachers.

1. What does scrubbing a chair teach my child?

The Practical Life area is an essential part of a Montessori classroom and considered the foundation of Montessori education. There are 22 steps to washing a chair and these steps help a child develop concentration, coordination, confidence, independence and order. These skills are essential for exploration in all areas of the classroom. Before tackling a math problem, a child needs to understand order and sequence. Scrubbing a chair teaches a child how to successfully complete a task independently. When children discover the joy of independence, they become confident in their abilities.

2. Why does my child’s teacher not say “wow that’s amazing?”

Montessori teachers allow a child to discover their own confidence. It is second nature for most parents to want to offer praise, however, we want the children to do tasks from themselves, which builds their inner confidence.  You will hear Montessori teachers say to students, “You should be proud of yourself,” or “How do you feel about your work?” These questions allow the children to reflect and take pride in their work.


3.  My child does the same thing every day..why don’t the teachers encourage him to choose something else?

Many parents have been concerned about repetitive behaviors they see their child doing. In Montessori, we call these “Sensitive Periods.”  Maria Montessori believed that children enter these periods of development, or phases, in which they have a sensitivity to learning a specific skill.  Each period lasts for as long as is needed for the child to master this skill.  Once mastery is accomplished, the sensitivity simply falls away and the child moves on.

4. Why does my child spend so much time observing other students?

Children learn by observation. Some children may not feel confident to try new work so they gain confidence by observing other children. Children are not seeing the same work all the time and younger children may get overwhelmed with all of the choices within that classroom. By observing, they are learning about themselves and what interests them.

5. What should we be doing at home?

Children love to contribute and practical life work allows a child to help in caring for themselves. There are many opportunities at home to help create independence and a joy for learning. Provide your child with the opportunity to contribute: cooking a meal together, loading the dishwasher, allowing your child to dress himself, cleaning up his own messes, and caring for his environment. Model what we do at school by having materials at their level and made available for them to be independent.


“An adult can assist in shaping the environment, but it is the child that perfects his own being” – Maria Montessori

We hope these questions and answers have offered some insight. Keep your questions coming!



Current perception is that the world is a whole lot scarier for today’s children than it was for their parents growing up.  As a consequence, many parents hover, over-protect, and deny their children the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them.

Today’s parents are conflicted.  They want to be there 24/7, making sure their children are happy and safe while simultaneously pushing them to take advantage of every opportunity and excel at sports, music, academics…. everything.

Children today will not be left behind.  Parents will make sure of it.  The government will make sure of it.  But sorting out the character traits, insights, knowledge and skills that will prepare our children to lead the way in securing a future for themselves, their children, and the children of the world community, is a daunting task.

Whenever I think about my own grandchildren and the world they will face in 20 years I am heartened by the fact that they are Montessori students and this is why:

The Montessori Way

Montessorians believe that children are born intelligent — girls and boys, rich or poor, from every ethnic background.  Every child is amazing.  They arrive in the world hard-wired with specific tendencies and characteristics that form the path for their optimal development.


Research has determined that the early years, from birth to age 6, are the most critical in a child’s education.  During the years of early childhood, connections are made in the brain that shape children for life.  Each child learns in different ways through hands-on experience.  Little children see no difference between play and work.  They absorb whatever they experience, often learning as much or more from other children as from adults.

Children are driven to become independent.  When given opportunities to try and fail and try again in a non-competitive, encouraging environment they develop confidence, creativity and problem-solving skills.  They develop resilience.

Montessori encourages children to work toward the mastery of new skills.  We nurture children’s curiosity, creativity and imagination.  We teach children to think for themselves.


West Side Montessori teaches values that are timeless and universal.  Teachers partner with children to facilitate learning.  Children help each other with their work.  An atmosphere of empathy and non-violence is carefully cultivated.  Children are not afraid to be open and honest, to be themselves.

Ultimately, Montessorians are optimists.  We help children discover their power to change the course of history.  We show them the progress already made in the march toward democracy, human dignity, and justice.  We honor the progress of humans in fields such as science and medicine.

We do not shy away from the difficult questions in life.  We believe that all people throughout history want to belong and that they search for meaning, for ways to create a better life.  We respect differences.  We seek to understand.

Who are the adults who will lead the way?  They will be today’s children who have developed the characteristics fostered at West Side Montessori.  They will have the will, the intelligence, the confidence and certainty to tackle the big issues, to reverse global warming, to resist tyranny, to address injustice. They will have the character and skills to look for collaborative solutions to life’s problem.  West Side Montessori provides a safe environment where children can learn, make mistakes and grow; no hovering required.  Our Montessori children will thrive.

Lynn Fisher,

Head of School

All young children need to explore. Why? The depth and breadth of their experiences shape their motivation to learn.

At West Side Montessori, children as young as 13 months explore a highly enriched environment prepared especially for them. Our professional Montessori educators are trained to stretch young children’s growing minds and bodies, to excite them about learning.

No teacher would ask kindergarteners to write themath10 numerals from 1-9,999. What motivates our 5-year-old to try to fill their number rolls with numerals to 1,000,000,000? The sheer joy of the work. The challenge of big numbers. The idea that numbers never end.

Why do Montessori teachers let them try when they know it’s an impossible goal? The concentration. The coordination. The persistence. The understanding gained and pride of accomplishment when the children unroll their adding machine tapes in the parking lot in the spring and see them stretch for yards and yards,

What happens to Montessori children’s motivation as they grow into adolescence? They become determined workers, focused on solving problems, unafraid to try and make mistakes. Why? They see teachers as helpful collaborators. They see learning as meaningful. And they challenge themselves to excel. Can 6th graders really prove the algebraic formula of a binomial cube? Of course, they can, using the same binomial cube they experience as a three-dimensional puzzle during their pre-school years.

We encourage you to explore West Side Montessori’s toddler through eighth-grade classrooms for yourself. You will see how we strive to help each child become the best thinker and the most capable person he or she can be.


Lynn Fisher,
Head of School

Spread the word, West Side is growing!
We are hosting an Open House for grades 1 – 8. Please share this event with your friend!

Coming Fall 2017:

  • A New gymnasium
  • Additional classroom spaces
  • Enlarged art & music studios
  • A Tornado safe room


Parents are invited to attend an evening of learning with our dsc08856-letterMontessori-certified teachers. We encourage you to join other West Side parents to explore Montessori in your child’s classroom and beyond. Sessions will be held at both the Toledo and Perrysburg Campus.

Please choose to attend the topics that are of interest to you regardless of your child’s level and feel free to bring a friend.

Click Here to see the full schedule!