What is the Montessori Method
And What Makes It Unique?
Montessori is a philosophy based on the fundamental belief that a child learns best within a social environment which supports each individual’s unique development.
- The Whole Child Approach
- The Prepared Environment
- The Montessori Materials
- The Teacher
The Montessori Philosophy
Dr. Maria Montessori created a new paradigm of education based on the natural development of the child. It was her belief that instructional methods should enhance learning and enable each child to maximize their full potential. The foundation of her method emphasizes a belief that education is more than the accumulation of information but rather life lessons which extend beyond basic academics.
During Dr. Montessori’s research and scientific observation of children possess a desire to explore, discover, and learn. Her method of education focuses on the development of the whole child nurturing creativity, curiosity, and intelligence. Children are encouraged to observe, think, and evaluate in an environment of freedom — a freedom that is achieved through order and self-discipline.
How Does it Work?
Each Montessori classroom operates on the principal of freedom within limits. Each classroom has rules based on respect for each other and for the environment. Children are free to work at their own pace in a carefully prepared classroom.
The aim is encourage active self-directed learning and to create a balance of individual mastery with small group collaboration within the whole group environment. Two or three year span in each classroom provides a family like grouping.
More experienced children share what they have learned while reinforcing their own learning. This peer group learning is intrinsic to Montessori.
Dr. Montessori believed that human life unfolds through a series of internal patterns and timetables for growth. Directed by their needs for independence, acceptance and understanding children quest to be their most expansive selves.
Dr. Montessori developed the “prepared environment” which maintains order and invites the child to develop at their own speed in a non-competitive atmosphere. The environment is the child’s work place, equipped with multi-sensory manipulative learning materials. The classroom contains materials for practical life, sensorial education, language, reading, arithmetic, geometry, science, and history. Physical movement, art, music and imagery also contribute to this broad integrated curriculum.
The teacher is the essential link between the child and the environment. It is the teachers role to observe, design, present and guide an individualized learning program for each child. It is the function of the teacher to nurture the whole child. The Montessori teacher also models and encourages tolerance to both children and adults.