If you’ve eaten out at a restaurant in New York City in the last few years, then you’re probably familiar with the letter grades hanging in the windows. Each of these plain yet official pieces of paper flaunts a bold letter—an A, B or C (or the curious Grade Pending)—to send a quick, yet strong signal to the potential patron. It’s a sanitary inspection grade, which is based on an unannounced inspection by the Health Department, and it flags people on just how safe the restaurant is. With issues such as improper food handling and pests, today’s discriminating diners want to be sure that their restaurant of choice is safe. In fact, some people won’t even step foot inside a restaurant unless the “A” sign is in full view.
There’s another “A” you might want to look for to ensure that you’re getting the best quality. And this time, the letter is even more symbolic because it can impact your child’s preschool. This A stands for Accreditation. In the world of Montessori Schools, here’s why it matters:
An Accredited Montessori School means that the school must answer to a higher authority and, in this case, that’s the American Montessori Society (AMS). In order to achieve and maintain this prestigious position, the school must undergo a rigorous process that meets a well-defined standard of excellence. This includes:
- a 12- to 18-month self-evaluation that engages administration, staff, teachers and parents
- a thorough onsite review by an AMS peer accreditation team
- a commitment to a strategic plan for long-term improvement
Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? It is, which is precisely why only about 10% of all AMS member schools are accredited. All that work, however, adds up in your favor, giving your child the richest Montessori education possible.
Just like the Health Department imparts rigorous standards on thousands of eateries in NYC, the AMS awards an AMS Accreditation to only those schools who are committed to the hefty process of achieving educational excellence. So, if you’re interviewing Montessori Schools, ask about the all-important “A” – Accreditation. And just like that restaurant downtown or uptown, if they don’t make the grade, you might want to keep looking before you make a reservation.
Power up with more information at the American Montessori Society web site: http://amshq.org/School-Resources/AMS-Member-Schools/AMS-Accredited-Schools