The Montessori Method
“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words, but by experiences in the environment.” – Maria Montessori
The Montessori method is designed to allow the child to learn through his or her own initiative and curiosity, at his or her own pace, within a cooperative and nurturing atmosphere.
Children are free to move about the room to select learning activities that interest them. Freedom within limits helps the child develop decision-making abilities while in a safe and secure environment. Children are free to concentrate on an activity without interruption. The method aims to develop independence, self-motivation, concentration, a sense of responsibility and confidence in one’s own abilities.
The Montessori Classroom
The Montessori classroom is a carefully prepared environment designed to facilitate the development of the child’s independence and sense of personal empowerment. It consists of classroom equipment scaled to child-size, specially designed learning materials unique to Montessori classrooms and a teacher who serves as a helper, guide and trained observer. The classroom consists of open shelves with bright, attractive materials that stimulate hands-on learning. The room invites activity and movement and fosters independence by the open availability and self-correcting aspects of the materials.
During their work time, the teachers serves as a guide and instructs on an individual level and in small groups to ensure each child is getting quality and individualized attention.
The classroom is divided into five main learning areas: Sensorial, Math and Science, Language, Culture and Practical Life.
The sensorial area offers the child activities that introduce shape, color and dimension, utilizing their senses.
The math and science curriculum introduces an extensive variety of mathematical and science concepts that include numbers, the decimal system, all four operations, fractions, time, money, the process of experimenting, weather, space, nature, botany, zoology, etc.
The language program focuses on pre-reading activities such as sequencing, classification and rhyming. Phonetic sounds are introduced and a reading series is introduced when the child is ready. Language is also a component in all areas of the learning environment, as children build their vocabulary with visual messages evident in print throughout the room.
The culture area includes work that results in an awareness of other countries and people around the world.
Practical life promotes responsibility and growth. It gives the child the opportunity to replicate tasks observed at home such as pouring, scooping, sweeping, and dishwashing, etc.
Materials in these areas range from concrete to abstract and are sequenced simple to more complex. This is the children’s community. They move freely within it, selecting activities that capture their interest and strengthen their minds.
Individuality in the Classroom
The prepared environment of the Montessori class allows the child to explore, discover and select his or her own work. Self-motivated learning ensures many successes, which encourages a feeling of competence, so that the child easily moves on to new challenges at more difficult levels — with positive self-esteem. This focus on individualism balanced with routine helps the child develop an “inner discipline”. Children are encouraged to work at their own unpressured pace. The independence that the child gains is not only empowering on a social and emotional basis, but it is also intrinsically involved with helping the child become comfortable and confident in his or her ability to master the learning environment.