Montessori is an educational approach focusing on independence, respect for a child’s natural development and freedom (within limits). It is founded on the premise that while children develop in different ways and at different rates, they do so in a defined sequence. The Montessori approach holds that young children have a natural drive to understand the world around them and they can best learn through self-teaching in carefully prepared environments, under the guidance of a caring teacher.
Montessori teachers help individual children find challenges appropriate for their skill level. While traditional teachers tend to act as leaders and organizers, Montessori teachers serve more as guides and facilitators. It is their job to provide positive reinforcement and steer children towards challenging activities while respecting their freedom of choice.
Classrooms in Montessori schools are specially designed to spark curiosity, minimize unnecessary failure and promote feelings of joy when achievement occurs. Children start by focusing on concrete and manipulative tasks then shift to more abstract tasks as knowledge and proficiency increase. In a Montessori classroom, the goal is to stimulate the desire for self exploration and understanding.
Facts About Montessori
- There are over 8,000 Montessori schools in the United States and 20,000 Montessori schools worldwide.
- Montessori is one of the fastest growing forms of education for young children in the world.
- The Montessori method holds that the most important years of education for children are between 0 – 6 years because intelligence is formed within the first 6 years
- Most of a child’s day at a Montessori school is spent in self chosen work.
- There are no grades or comparison to other children in a Montessori program. Each child advances at their own pace through the curriculum.
- Montessori school are both public and private; over 200 public schools in the United States offer Montessori programs.
- Montessori techniques can be used successfully with all children, whether they are gifted, have learning disabilities or other special needs.
Benefits of Montessori
- Self worth: Children gain an extremely strong sense of self-worth; they learn that they are important and their ideas are valuable.
- Increased Confidence: Children gain the confidence required to master new skills, solve difficult problems, and achieve success.
- Community Awareness: Children learn how to live in the community with people who have different strengths and weaknesses.
- Leadership: Children learn how to lead and at the same time, be part of a team.
- Self Instruction: Through the use of self correcting equipment, children learn from their own errors by getting feedback on choices they make.
- Respect the Environment: Children learn the importance of preserving the environment while using its resources wisely.
- Increased Aptitude: According to a study five year old Montessori students were “significantly better prepared for elementary school in reading and math skills than the non-Montessori children” and they tested better in their “ability to adapt better to changing and more complex problems”.