Montessori schools have been praised highly for several years, but the quality of learning and benefits aren’t the only things that are high. The cost of Montessori can get expensive, and their rates are significantly higher than those of traditional schools. But, before you count it out entirely, here’s why Montessori is so costly, and why it may or may not be worth it to you.
Montessori schools are typically more expensive due to the high-quality teaching materials, extensive teacher training, furniture for the classrooms, and school facilities. For the quality of education, Montessori is worth it in the younger years but may not have as many benefits for older children.
Diving deeper into why Montessori schools are more expensive can help you decide if you truly are paying for higher quality. We’ll also take a look at costs compared to traditional schools, and some of the pros and cons of Montessori.
What are the Costs?
Before we look at why Montessori is expensive, we need to look at how much more Montessori costs than a traditional school, and if they really are as pricey as they seem to be.
On average, traditional preschools in the United States will cost anywhere from $4,500 to $13,000 per year, depending on where you live and the quality of preschool. These funds typically go to paying teachers and resources for classroom materials.
For elementary school, public education will cost between $10 and $3,500, and private schooling will cost about $5,100 on average.
For Montessori, the average cost of preschooling is between $9,750 and $15,300. Elementary school costs range from $10,500 to $14,750.
Preschooling by Montessori is about $3000-$4000 more expensive than traditional preschools, and about $8,300 more expensive than traditional elementary schools. However, depending on where you are located and the schooling options available to you, the cost difference may be smaller.
Check out our article for more detailed information on how much Montessori schools cost.
Why is it so Expensive?
Now that we see the actual difference in the prices, let’s go back to the reasons behind this increased cost.
High-quality teaching materials
One of the unique aspects of Montessori is the standard for teaching materials. Montessori does not use factory-produced materials in their classrooms. Instead, materials and toys that meet higher quality and durability standards are required. Because Montessori focuses on hands-on learning, they often use wood materials that are painted and sanded for safety.
The toys used in the classroom are designed to help the appropriate age group master certain skills and concepts. Materials made of plastic are avoided, which is partially why the cost is higher. Plastic items are cheaper, so Montessori schools need more funding to buy high-quality materials.
Along with the philosophy for learning, wooden toys create a better sensory experience for children. They are also bright in colors, are sustainable and natural, and are durable when it comes to the games that children may want to play. They’re also ideal for stacking and building activities.
Along with toys in the classroom, furniture plays a large role in the environment of the Montessori classroom. These furnishings are often made of the same wooden material and are selected with a specific purpose for creating the best learning environment.
Diligent and rigorous training is also required for teachers of a Montessori school, which contributes to the higher cost of tuition. Montessori teachers act as guides to their students, helping them grow socially and cognitively.
They observe students and identify needs, all while establishing strong relationships of trust and a healthy learning environment. Their roles and specific approaches are important within the classroom.
The American Montessori Society (AMS) certification is required to teach in a Montessori school and often takes 1-2 years to complete. To be able to earn AMS certifications, a person must hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. accredited college or university. Following certification, a year-long practicum of teaching experience is required. Certifications may differ between age groups and schools.
Most Montessori schools are private, meaning that the cost of the facilities and where the school is located is going to drive up the cost. Depending on the size of the facilities, costs to pay for them may increase even more. Special programs and education also require monetary investment from teachers and parents.
After-school programs, including language learning, sports, and extended days are part of these programs which provide opportunities for students to grow and become well-rounded students and people.
Is it Worth the Price?
Now that we have seen the why and how of the average Montessori education, let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
While Montessori places a high emphasis on the quality of items in the classroom, these things merely support the quality of student-directed learning, often called “freedom within limits”. Montessori is dedicated to providing an early start to your child’s growth and learning. Children are free to roam the classroom and work on projects that they are interested in, developing a sense of self-confidence and a love of exploration.
Montessori is committed to enhancing children’s capability, accountability, knowledge, and sense of self. At young ages, research shows that this method has many pros, including independence, increased social interaction, and a love of learning.
Research shows that children in Montessori education have a more accelerated rate of math and social skills within the first three years of learning, but this may not always be the case for older students (Source).
More variation of success exists within high schools where curriculum varies at a wider rate than preschools. It is often more strict in higher levels, but the curriculum for Montessori at the high school level is less standardized.
Cons of Montessori are that the independent and loose structure can be intimidating for some. The routine and structure that some children need may be lacking here. Montessori is also less accessible than some other schooling options. Due to the high price, those of lower-income families may not be able to afford this type of education.
Despite the cost and the drawbacks of Montessori, financial aid is available in the form of vouchers, tax credits and deductions, and school support. Some Montessori schools are also publically funded and receive philanthropic help.
For more information, check out our articles on the pros and cons of the Montessori Method.
Related: Is Montessori School right for my child?