The Student-Teacher Ratio in Montessori Education
always helpful to read about the journey that others go through when
they are schooling children (either in the classroom or at home). It's the sharing of these journeys (both
positive and negative) that gives others the knowledge and strength to
make the decision that they feel are best for the children in their care.
Here is an article that caught our attention: "Homeschooling transformed over decades"
The article brings up some good points
about the positive aspects of homeschooling and how it has changed over
the past decade. But our brains hit pause at this
statement in the article: "The fact is, it is a superior education. Home is the only
a teacher-to-student ratio as low as one-to-one."
writer's opinion of "a superior education" wasn't the part that caused us to pause. Everyone does have the right to think their 'form' of education is best. After all, we firmly believe that Montessori is best, but it's not up to us to
convince others of it. It's up to us to provide the philosophy and the
materials, and then let others decide what they think is best for them.
was the comment "Home is the only classroom with a teacher-to-student
ratio as low as one-to-one." that gave us reason to pause and think just
how juxtaposed a thought that is to the Montessori classroom.
the Montessori classroom we strive for a 3
year age mix (ages 3, 4, and 5), and a high ratio of children to 1 trained
Directress and an assistant: 23-25 children to 2 adults is ideal. The age mix must be as equal as
possible, (ie. 8 three year olds, 8 four year olds, 8 five year olds) with each child staying in the same class for 3 years.
Therefore the only new children brought into the class at the beginning
of the year are those who are three years old - the other 16 or so children are returning back to the same classroom for their second and third year. Note: Historically the ratio was 30:2, which is now hard, or next to impossible to
achieve with all the Child and Youth Services regulations here in
The 3 year mixed age group and the high ratio
are key components of the Montessori
mixed ages of the children is
the children learn from each other, care for each other, and help to
the crutches that would otherwise occur if the children were all the
The children gain independence because there are other
children who require the time and attention of the teacher. As well,
they have the freedom to be guided by their inner drive and are less
likely to be directed through the curriculum at the
desire of the adult.
Is one-on-one time with parents crucial to a
child's development? Absolutely! There is nothing better than reading
together, cuddling and talking, playing, enjoying the outdoors, and so
many other important day to day activities.
But in the Montessori environment is it clearly best to have a high number of children and few adults present.
P.S - We
still firmly believe that it's possible to use Montessori at home, even
with a low ratio - as we wrote here. But it's definitely much more challenging at the ratio lowers.