Young children possess absorbent minds and unmatched sensitivities, enabling them to learn more easily and efficiently than at any other time of life. A wide array of materials invite the children to exercise their senses, develop large and small motor skills, and proactive daily living activities. These activities provide the building blocks in which children begin to explore math and written language, geography and science, music, and the creative arts.
The children in a Montessori classroom are free to choose work which stimulates and satisfies their own curiosity. Most of the materials are concrete, multi-sensory, and self-correcting, so that minimum direction is needed. Teachers in the classrooms act as guides and observers, gently directing the children towards individual discoveries and connections. A Montessori classroom encourages independence, responsible freedom, self-discipline, and joyful learning. Social skills and a vibrant sense of community among the children develop naturally as they work and play together, with ground rules that ensure respect for self and others.
The Montessori method of education is a model which serves the needs of each individual child in a natural, mixed-age group which is very much like the society they will live in as adults. It is a philosophy that respects the unique individuality of each child. Dr. Montessori believed in the worthiness, value and importance of children. The Montessori approach to education stresses individually paced learning, freedom of choice and movement, and the importance of self-discovery. The Montessori Method is an education approach that prepares children for life.
A Montessori teacher’s role is to prepare the environment according to each child’s needs. In order to accomplish this quality time is spent during the class period observing each student in their interactions, what activities they are drawn too, discovering their strong areas and areas they may need work on. In addition, teachers are working one on one with children and maintaining their ability to work without interruption. Dr. Montessori believed that every child has a right to work without interruption for as long a period as they choose and to be able to repeat an activity if that is their choice. She believed that by placing children in a stimulating, specially prepared environment their natural curiosity would help them become self-motivated learners. And by doing so they would develop a love of learning that is invaluable.
Who is Maria Montessori?
“Anyone who wants to follow my method should not honor me but the follow the child as his leader.”
– Dr. Maria Montessori