The question often comes up to why we have three consecutive days for children who attend only three days per week in our toddler program. The answer is rather simple but needs context. Childhood experts agree that if a child attends a high-quality program it will help prepare them for kindergarten and beyond. The first six years of a child’s life are very important to their development. This generally-recognized principle is an important backdrop to the explanation of attendance at Montessori three days or more a week.
We prefer a full five-day schedule. Routine for children can be difficult sometime—entering a Montessori environment can also be difficult, especially if this is the child’s first time away from parents. Developing a consistent routine, children will quickly adjust to the Montessori environment. Routine helps the children develop a strong sense of belonging, confidence, independence which leads to stronger social, emotional and educational outcomes. The five-day schedule builds that consistency best. But for some families, making the transition into school causes separation anxiety (usually on the part of mom) that is itself counterproductive, so we allow for a three day program.
Sometimes parents wishing for a three-day schedule ask for a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule. Except in extreme situations we don’t allow a schedule like that because, particularly for the younger toddlers, every day is Monday and they don’t see the patterns of the day until much later. Attending Montessori three days each week isn’t as affirming as five, but children can still build strong bonds with their teachers and new-found friends. The bonds help with the foundation of our community. Children that attend more than two days become closer with other friends in the classroom because they can rely on each other to be in the room for working and playing. This helps build friendship.
For these reasons we urge all our families to consider at least three consecutive days of attendance to help the children achieve their full potential and reap the full benefits of Montessori early education.