Adult Success linked to Social Skills in Kindergarten

In June we had an early childhood specialist come to observe in our school. Although she had observed in hundreds of preschool classrooms, this was the first time she had been in a Montessori school. After observing, she remarked to me how amazed she was by the children’s ability to problem-solve and work through disagreements without much or any input or prompting from the teachers. This was something that in all of her years in traditional preschool education she had never seen on this scale. She saw a classroom full of 3-6 year old children cooperating, helping each other, sharing, taking turns, and genuinely caring for the feelings of their classmates.

This calm and respectful environment is something wonderful that happens for a variety of reasons. 
  1. The Montessori culture curriculum promotes respect and admiration for people who are different than ourselves.
  2. Children are taught how to be peaceful through peace education.
  3. Children are taught to respect nature, others, and the self.
  4. Conflict resolution is modeled early and often.
  5. Children are respected as individuals with individual needs and feelings. Because they are not taught in a “herd” they gain respect for themselves and know that their feelings do matter, as do the feelings of others.
  6. Expectations are clear and consistent.
  7. Routines are established and maintained providing a sense of security for the children.
Recently the American Journal of Public Health published the results of a 20-year longitudinal study out of Pennsylvania State University. It asked the teachers of 753 kindergartners in Nashville, Seattle, rural Pennsylvania, and Durham to rate the children on skills in eight areas:
  • resolves peer problems on his/her own
  • is very good at understanding other people’s feelings
  • shares materials with others
  • cooperates with peers without prompting
  • is helpful to others
  • listens to others’ point of view
  • can give suggestions and opinions without being bossy
  • acts friendly towards others
The study then tracked those children to age 25 and compared their social competencies at age 5 with their accomplishments by age 25. What they found was that those children who had high levels of social competencies were more likely to have graduated college, be employed, and have fewer incidences of criminal activity, regardless of socio-economic status, race, or early academic ability.
To read more on this study, click here to be redirected to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website.
The joy and smiles of our children strengthen our commitment to a Montessori learning environment. Westmont, founded in 1964, stands as one of the premier Montessori schools in NJ. We welcome you to discover our school.