The Montessori Method of education which was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood.
Montessori methods look at a child as one who is naturally excited for knowledge and skilled of initiating learning in a helpful, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. It is a method that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child-physical, social, emotional, cognitive.
What stands out in Montessori methods.
The teacher follows the child and respects the child’s inner drive. Every child is different and works at their own pace using an individual approach. The method allows for multiage groupings that foster peer learning: younger children learn from older children; older children reinforce their learning by teaching concepts they have already mastered. This organization also imitates the real world, where individuals work and socialize with people of all ages and dispositions.
Uninterrupted blocks of work time that promote concentration, and guided choice of work activity. In addition, a full complement of specially designed Montessori learning materials are precisely arranged and available for use in an aesthetically pleasing environment. The teacher, child, and environment create a learning triangle.
The classroom is prepared by the teacher to encourage independence, freedom within limits, and a sense of order. The child, through individual choice, makes use of a what the environment offers to develop himself, interacting with the teacher when support or guidance is needed.
Dr. Montessori observed that children experience sensitive periods, or windows of opportunity, as they grow. As their students develop, Montessori teachers match appropriate lessons and materials to these sensitive periods when learning is most naturally absorbed and internalized.
In early childhood, Montessori students learn through sensory-motor activities, working with materials that develop their cognitive powers through direct experience and senses.
In the elementary years, the child continues to organize his thinking through work with the Montessori learning materials and an interdisciplinary curriculum as he passes from the concrete to the abstract. He begins the application of his knowledge to real-world experiences.
This organization of information – facts and figures – prepares the child for the world of adolescence, when thought and emotion evolve into understanding more abstract, universal concepts such as equity, freedom, and justice.
The Montessori method aims to set the child up for success. It observes the child, watches what the child gravitates towards, watches what they avoid and creates learning strategies, which depends on each individual child. Students who go through the Montessori method are likely to do better in life and are more confident with decisions they make and with what they do.