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If you’re scoping out schools, you’ve probably heard the term “Montessori” thrown around. But what the heck is it? Created by Italian physician Maria (yep) Montessori, this teaching technique involves mixed-age classrooms that give students a choice of educational activities, rather than everybody learning the same lesson at once. The results are undeniable (hey, the founders of Google and Amazon are alums). But is it the right choice for your child? Read on to find out what might happen if you take the plunge.

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They Might Stop Playing with Conventional Toys

Remember when you bought your preschooler an expensive game, and all he wanted to do was play with the box? That’s because kids are inherently creative—anything becomes a toy when they’re able to freely choose to play with it. In Montessori school, there are no toy trucks or dolls, only creative teaching tools. Kids have fun learning to do the dishes or make a necklace at a kid-friendly station in the classroom—then take this curiosity home with them.

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They Might Learn a Second Language

Many Montessori schools teach a foreign language alongside English from a young age, based on the theory that kids are able to absorb multiple languages more quickly and easily before the age of six. And if you’re really lucky, your kid’s Montessori teacher might be a native speaker, and teach him about the country’s culture, customs and traditions, too.

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They Might Become More Curious

A hand-chosen curriculum is created for each child based on their interests and learning style. For example, if your daughter is really into dinosaurs, she might choose to read a book about triceratops, then make one out of modeling clay. This might spark a total clay phase, which teachers can then use to help her learn math. (One clay ball plus two clay balls equals how many clay balls?) Pretty cool, right?

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They Might Fall Behind in Some Areas

When kids are individually calling the shots about what they learn, some subjects may fall through the cracks, especially in a class of 30. There are no traditional tests in Montessori school, so if the teacher isn’t being diligent, it’s tough to know whether every child has really absorbed the topics they’re learning.

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...And Jump Way Ahead in Others

If your kid is a whiz at reading, Montessori teachers won’t make him read the same books as the rest of the class. Instead, they’ll help him choose more advanced books and encourage him to write his own stories, even if they’re way past his “grade level.” Yep, this means Montessori teachers could be teaching one kindergartener high school books while the others are still learning their ABCs.

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They Might Have a Hard Time Adjusting to Traditional School

Some parents choose to send a child to Montessori preschool and kindergarten, then pull her out and send her to a grade school that’s more traditionally structured. If she’s used to choosing her own curriculum and initiating her own learning process, she might get bored or discouraged when she’s taught with a lecture instead of a hands-on activity.

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They Might Discover Their Passion

When kids are given free rein to try as many activities as they want, they’ll begin to naturally gravitate toward the ones they find the most fascinating. And when your child is allowed to learn math, science and every other subject through her passion for drawing, she’ll become increasingly confident in her abilities as an artist and student. The opportunities are endless.

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