Pre School vs. Montessori: The Best School for Your Toddler

Council Oak Montessori

Montessori primary education is about setting a strong foundation. It’s a hands-on application of a simple idea: What students do in the pre-school and kindergarten years will set the tone for their entire academic career and beyond. We hope your child can join other excited, motivated learners to explore this important transition in their intellectual lives.

We realize leaving the Children’s House and moving on to Elementary is a big step, both financially and as a philosophical commitment to the ideas that will define your child’s education. It’s natural to have questions. To help inform your decision, we’ve put together a brief discussion of how the Montessori Elementary level differs from Illinois’s public preschool stage.


One of the most critical differences between Montessori Elementary and the Illinois public preschool-kindergarten phase is the faculty and class structure. In Montessori, your child has the same teacher for all three of these years. The same individual who nurtures your child’s budding intellect with basic language, mathematics and research in the early years, will guide your child’s social development and expression as they undergo self-directed investigations during their capstone experience in kindergarten.


The Montessori program operates under the theory that children are ready to accept the responsibility, privileges and freedom of leadership roles early on in their education. Children are already looking forward to being the big kids as they leave their toddler years. The preschool-through-kindergarten approach of Elementary gives them their first opportunity to shine as leaders during their third year. Many schools in the Illinois public school system would treat this year as the beginning of the K-through-five stage, considerably delaying the chance for social leadership.


To further inform your decision, look at the overall goals of both modes of education. In Montessori, children develop enthusiasm and joy for learning — they discover that broad inquiry is their privilege and their responsibility. The Illinois public school system is developed around learning standards and benchmarks in a variety of departments, which run parallel to the rest of the state education, such as science, language arts, mathematics and physical education. Both programs focus strongly on learning fundamentals and essential information. The difference is that, while the Illinois public school system prepares your child for success in public schools, Montessori Lower Elementary prepares your child for success anywhere they go in the world.

We hope you will allow your child to continue learning at Montessori. The best part of your child’s learning adventure starts now, as they begin to recognize the challenges, appreciate the triumphs and form the intellectual connections, which will make your child an inquisitive, engaged student.