The Montessori philosophy has been adopted by many generations of parents with the intent of raising their children with an alternative method of education. They have done the research and learned that this education, based on respect and independence rather than traditional teaching methods, has superior results for smaller children.
However, most unfamiliar with the philosophy consider Montessori elitist or simply extravagant. It’s not for children of parents with modest incomes or who live on a strict budget, right? But this is just not the case.
Not only will I shed some light on some of the causes of these prices, but I will also expose the general fallacy of this myth. By the end of this article, you will have learned about a myriad of alternatives to both the pricey materials and the expensive Montessori education.
Why is a Montessori education so pricey?
There are four main causes of this premium price: teaching material, teacher training, classroom furniture, and the facilities in which the school is located. These, of course, vary from school to school but let’s take a deeper look to see what’s behind each of these factors.
Montessori materials have strict guidelines to follow when it comes to the classroom and teaching materials. They are handmade with high-quality wood, paint and finish, none of that mass-produced factory stuff.
Next, there is a ton of different teaching material required by each school to stock when it comes to teaching all academic subjects. Math, science and reading materials are either handmade by local artisans or come from expensive Montessori suppliers, like Nienhuis. The prices for the material can easily chew up a large portion of their budget.
Montessori teacher training
Teachers and assistants of a Montessori education must pass a rigorous training. Many schools require an education or liberal arts bachelors degree and a master’s degree in Montessori methodology. Some only require a high school diploma, but the Montessori training is the same and you complete the 2-year training with a certification.
The teacher training also requires an internship, so the level of training is quite high, though the average salary of a Montessori teacher tends to be less that of the state-run schools, despite the high tuition costs.
Assistants must also comply with certification training according to the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE), ensuring a high standard and unmatched level of education quality.
They are private (usually)!
Probably the most overlooked factor in dissecting the question of why Montessori is so pricey is that they are indeed private. Meaning they have to pay for the facilities, which vary in size and cost, the teachers’ salaries and special programs which require additional investment by both the parents and the center.
Some of these programs include toddler pre-school programs where the youngest get an introduction to the standard Montessori training. After-school programs including language learning and sports.
These activities all cost money but the fact that they are offered is proof that Montessori schools main goal is to raise well-rounded, confident children.
Let’s put a myth to rest
The truth is a Montessori education is not always more expensive. With some research and luck, depending on the community you reside in, you can find subsidized schools. Many Montessori centers are supported by government agencies, local churches or temples, even some charities contribute to the cause.
Jeff Bezos, the CEO, and founder of Amazon, just recently announced a huge contribution to the Montessori system of education. He is donating 2 billion dollars to the creation of new Montessori teaching centers all over the nation. Being an alumnus of a Montessori education, he understands the importance of Montessori when it comes to creating future thinkers and leaders.
How can I find out if I qualify for financial aid?
Luckily most Montessori schools have a financial aid department and have procedures to follow when applying for assistance. Others will refer you to their website as it supplies application forms for said financial aid.
Here is also a list of the public charter schools which are based on Montessori methodology in the US. If you qualify or win the lottery for entrance, it is, of course, free of charge.
There are also cheaper options for you when it comes to purchasing Montessori materials. If you’re looking for material for your homeschooling curriculum or if you’re interested in supplementing your child’s education, this section is for you.
Our entire website is dedicated to this subject: supplying cheaper materials made of felt and other affordable materials. No, it doesn’t have to be wood to be Montessori!
We also provide downloadable printables for 3-part Montessori card learning. We have put some patterns to our felt games in the DIY section for those on a tight budget as well.
If you’re interested in a subject not yet provided in our shop, there are countless Montessori material printables and patterns on the Teachers Pay Teachers website. And you don’t have to be a teacher to make purchases!
So, I hope this has answered some of your questions and also set you straight about this misconception about the expensive nature of Montessori. The education is expensive in some cases, the materials too. But it is not elitist, it’s just better! And alternatives are available to those with some ingenuity and willingness to do the research.