What Is Montessori?
Montessori is a philosophy with the fundamental tenet that a child learns best within a social environment, which supports each individual’s unique development.
How did it begin?
Dr. Maria Montessori, the creator of what is called “The Montessori Method of Education,” based this new education on her scientific observations of young children’s behavior.
Montessori’s dynamic theories included such revolutionary premises as:
- Children are to be respected as different from adults and individuals who are different from one another.
- Children create themselves through purposeful activity.
- The most important years for learning are from birth to age six.
- Children posses unusual sensitivity and mental powers for absorbing and learning from their environment, which includes people as well as materials.
What makes Montessori education unique?
The “whole child “ approach. The primary goal of a Montessori program is to help each child reach full potential in all areas of life. Activities promote the development of social skills, emotional growth, and physical coordination as well as cognitive preparation.
The “Prepared Environment.” In order for self-directed learning to take place, the whole learning environment (room, materials and social climate) must be supportive of the learner. The teacher provides necessary resources, including opportunities for children to function in a safe and positive climate.
The Montessori materials: Dr. Montessori’s observations of the kinds of “toys” which children enjoy and return to play with repeatedly lead her to design a number of multi sensory, sequential and self correcting materials which facilitate the learning of skills and concepts.
The teacher: originally called a “Directress”, the Montessori teacher functions as a designer of the environment, resource person, role model, demonstrator, record-keeper and meticulous observer of each child’s behavior and growth.
Are Visitors Welcome In The Facility?
Visitors are welcome to observe our school. Please call if you would like to make an appointment.
Is It For All Children? *
The Montessori system has been used successfully with children between the ages two and half and eighteen from all socio-economic levels, representing children at any learning level as well as gifted and specical needs. Because of its individual approach, it is uniquely suited to public education, where children of many backgrounds are grouped together. It is appropriate for classes in which the student teacher ratio is high because children learn at an early age to work independently.
Is The Child Free To Do What He Chooses In The Classroom?*
The child is free to move about the classroom at will, to talk to other children, to work with any equipment whose purpose he understands, or to ask the teacher to introduce new material to him. He is not free to disturb other children at work or to abuse the equipment that is so important to his development. If the child is moving about the classroom aimlessly, the they are gently guided and given options for challenging work. It is not a free for all where children pick whatever they want. They are challenged daily with work that is appropriate for them.
What Does The Directress Do? *
The directress works with individual children, introduces materials, and gives guidance where needed. One of her primary tasks is careful observation of each child in order to determine his needs and to gain knowledge she needs in preparing the environment to aid his growth. Her method of teaching is indirect in that she neither imposes upon the child, as in direct teaching, nor abandons him as a non-directive, permissive approach. Rather, she is constantly alert to the direction in which the child himself has indicated he wishes to go and she actively seeks ways to help him accomplish his goals.
What Does It Do For The Child? *
The goals of Montessori for children are several: it encourages self-discipline, self-knowledge, and independence, as well as enthusiasm for learning, and organized approach to problem-solving, and academic skills.
What Happens When Children Go From A Montessori Class To A Traditional Class? *
Most children appear to adjust readily to new classroom situations. In all likelihood this is because they have developed self-discipline and independence in the Montessori Environment.
* Courtesy of Paul Lillard, author of Montessori – A Modern Approach
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