Parents want and strive to give the best education there is for their children.
Montessori education is based on the idea that children have an innate desire and a natural instinct to learn. It is the appropriate environment that is required to facilitate this intrinsically fun and joyful learning for a lifetime. While conventional education is based upon extrinsic rewards and/or reprimand, Montessori education relies upon intrinsic achievement motivation. Montessori learning instills discipline, collaboration, freedom, leadership, innovation, moral standards, empathy, compassion, respect and global perspective.
Basically, the Montessori approach professes respect for the child in a broader sense. It is important to keep in mind that children from birth are capable of learning. Before age three, learning is unconscious. The child observes and absorbs everything in the environment. Around age three, the child starts to be conscious of what he is learning.
Around age 6, the child starts approaching a new stage of life in which he questions everything and it is the prepared environment’s responsibility to direct the questions toward meaningful answers by way of self discovery and rational study of subjects.
Montessori Sensorial Exercises
The magic of Montessori Materials
Components of the Montessori method
Dr. Maria Montessori, in her initial work in 1907 in San Lorenzo, Italy observed that the younger children were intensely attracted to sensory development apparatus. The children used these materials spontaneously, independently, repeatedly and with deep concentration. They emerged from this spontaneous activity renewed and with a profound sense of inner satisfaction.
“Montessori method is based on the spontaneous activity of the child which is aroused precisely by the interest the child takes in the material.”
From this initial discovery, over many years of observation and trial and error, Dr. Montessori and her son Mario, went on to design an entire range of Montessori materials.
In order for the materials to be of optimum benefit they are presented to the child at the appropriate stage in his or her development by a trained Montessori teacher. The materials then allow the child to engage in self-directed, purposeful activity. The materials are beautiful and enticing and are displayed in an orderly and accessible way.
Children of different ages are in one classroom to promote self-learning and cooperation. In this multiple age group setting, the younger children benefit by learning collaboratively from children of same age as well as through mentorship from older children. The older children benefit by practicing leadership skills. Hence, children learn by helping one another rather than competing.
The Prepared Environment
The prepared environment is developmentally appropriate for children in order to meet their individual needs at each plane of development. It is an environment that is prepared specifically for the children. There are low shelves, ample floor space for working and outdoor space. Furnishings are light and child-sized.
All the elements of the prepared environment work together to promote the children’s independence and to enable and encourage self-direction and concentration on challenging work. The prepared environment makes it possible for children in a Montessori setting to exercise a great deal of freedom and to exhibit a great deal of responsibility. All real life materials are used to give children truly authentic experience.
The Montessori Teacher
The teacher is the facilitator between the children and the physical facility. She connects children to the materials that will be both interesting and challenging to each child at their individual level of development. The Montessori teacher is skilled in observing each individual child and connecting the children to appropriate material based on her observation of each child’s needs and interests. The Montessori teacher has assistants who have a clear understanding of the Montessori philosophy and approach.
Primary community includes children aged 3 to 6 years. Toddlers are 14 or 16 months to 3 years of age. By having an appropriate balance of children, classrooms offer many opportunities among the children for mutual help. The older children help younger ones reinforcing what they already know.
Three hours work cycle
Through years of observation around the world, Dr. Maria Montessori came to understand that children when left in freedom displayed a distinct work cycle which was so predictable it could even be graphed. This cycle, with two peaks and one valley, lasted approximately three hours. In Montessori schools, children have three hours of open, uninterrupted time to choose independent work, become deeply engaged, and repeat to their own satisfaction.
The young child’s work is very different from the adult’s. When an adult works, he sets out to accomplish some goal and stops working when the objective has been achieved. A younger child, however, does not work to accomplish an external goal but rather an internal one. Consequently, they will repeat an activity until the inner goal is accomplished. The unconscious urge to repeat helps the child to coordinate a movement or acquire some ability.
Children attend five days per week
The Montessori Method is a unique cycle of learning designed to take advantage of the child’s sensitive years. Children attend five days per week so that each child becomes part of a familiar classroom with the same peers each day. This creates a stable environment for all children.
Discipline from within
Discipline in a well-run Montessori classroom is not a result of the teacher’s control or from rewards or punishments. Its source comes from within each individual child, who can control his or her own actions and make positive choices regarding personal behavior. Self-discipline is directly related to development of such a firm will.
Discipline in Montessori – 1
Discipline in Montessori – 2
Leaning to wait in Montessori