Montessori Method of Education
The Montessori method of education is a unique approach to learning. Rather than teaching the child concepts, an environment is designed to stimulate the child’s interest and facilitate his/her understanding and learning capabilities spontaneously with little adult intervention until the proper time for a lesson. Children do teach each other, choose their own “work” and are interrupted rarely by group lessons.
Purpose of the Montessori Method
The main purpose of the Montessori method is to develop an environment where the child can unfold spontaneously and manifest the greater person within. The Montessori teacher – called the Guide – studies the developing life and how to best aid in its development. It is a preparation for a lifetime of learning.
Montessori Primary School Is Different from Other Preschools
In most preschools, a teacher teaches the children educational concepts in a group with times set aside for specific events. In a Montessori Primary School the children learn concepts spontaneously as they work independently with the many materials in the environment.
The Elementary Classroom
The Elementary Program now follows one of the Montessori standards of having a combined 6-12 year-old classroom. This configuration allows the students to move forward in the curriculum regardless of their age or school year. Additionally, it helps to smooth out the social dynamics that begin to arise in the elementary years and takes advantage of the strong nurturing/leadership tendencies of the older children.
The Montessori Classroom
The Montessori classroom is a child-sized world. Whatever is in the world outside can be incorporated meaningfully in the Montessori class. To a child, the world is unmanageable – it is too big, too complex and too confusing. By careful selection of the material, the Montessori teacher – called the Guide – sets up an environment that allows the child to explore on a level s/he can understand. The materials or exercises are designed to stimulate independent exploration. This prepared environment entices the child to proceed at his/her own pace from simple activities to more complex ones. Through this process, the child’s natural curiosity is satisfied and s/he begins to experience the joy of discovering the world about him/her. Materials and curricula center around the subjects of practical life, sensorial, language, math, geography, history, geometry, biology, art, music, and creative movement.
The Montessori Teacher
The Montessori teacher is called a Guide because s/he guides the classroom activity. S/he carefully plans the environment in the interest of the children and helps the children progress from one activity to the next. The Guide is trained to deal with each child individually, allowing him/her to choose from many activities within his/her range of ability. S/he stands back while a child is working and allows him/her the satisfaction of his/her own discovery.
With all the freedom, isn’t there confusion?
The concept of freedom within the classroom is one of freedom within limits. Ground rules are established early in the year. A child is allowed to work freely so long as s/he does not disturb others. Actually, the children, having the freedom to follow their interest, are generally happy and busily involved with their work.
Socialization and Group Work
Socialization in the Montessori classroom comes from the willingness of the child. In the classroom you will notice the children interacting continuously, choosing to work on projects together and older children helping younger ones. Each day there is a large group activity, small group lessons and outside play.
Montessori Children Adjust to Traditional Schools
Children who have been in a Montessori environment are generally very flexible and adjust quite easily to a traditional school situation. They are generally better students and spend their time in more productive ways because of their self-direction and positive attitude towards learning.
Dr. Maria Montessori
Over one hundred years ago, Dr. Maria Montessori, Italy’s first female physician, used her skills of scientific observation while leading children in the Casa dei Bambini de Roma. Based on her unbiased observations, she developed unique materials, a child-centered environment and revolutionized educational thought by stressing respect for the child, freedom of expression, self-education, and training through use of movement and the senses.