Philosophy and Objectives
The internationally known “Montessori Method” is based on the idea that education is an aid to life. Dr.Maria Montessori, Italy’s first female physician and one of the first developmental psychologists, developed the Montessori Method in 1907. Her method fosters a deep respect for each child’s innate desire to learn and develop to his/her fullest potential. The philosophy behind the Montessori Method is to stimulate and facilitate each child’s interest in learning with little to no adult intervention. To accomplish this tremendous task, each child must have the freedom to explore his/her own potential through interaction within a prepared environment. However, the freedom of each child is balanced with a sense of responsibility within non-restrictive boundaries. By fostering such independence, the child can become his/her own teacher and develop his/her own intellectual, emotional, and physical powers. The Montessori Method is meant to assist individual children in acquiring the skills and confidence necessary to succeed in mastering self-discipline and developing a true love for learning.
The Montessori Classroom
Children in the Montessori environment learn how to think, learn, communicate, and behave responsibly. Through stimulating, multi-sensory, self-teaching and self-correcting Montessori materials, each child can experience the joy of discovery while actively learning.
The materials and curriculum center around practical life, sensorial, language, math, geography, science, art, music, drama, and dance providing an integrated education that allows each child to develop intellectually, socially, and physically.
Teachers guide and support the child’s developing intelligence by carefully preparing the environment to meet the individual needs of each child. Each child works for his/her own satisfaction at his/her own pace both individually and within groups. The teacher will keep detailed records of each child’s progress after careful observation.
The classroom environment promotes self-discipline by balancing freedom with responsibility.
The multi-age community encourages the children to work out his/her own social relationships and resolve conflict, which promotes tolerance and respect for others. The multi-age community also allows each child to develop a sense of motivation, leadership and followership.
The active involvement of parents and family members will help reinforce the concepts and ideas of the Montessori classroom.
After leaving a Montessori school, children will have developed the skills and confidence to make a smooth transition to other schools and educational methodologies.
The Montessori Difference
The goal of both a Montessori and a traditional classroom is the same – to provide learning experiences for the child. The biggest difference lies in the kind of learning experiences each type of school provides and the method each uses to accomplish this goal. Montessori educators believe both differences are important because they help shape what a child learns, their work habits and their future attitude about themselves and the world around them.
- Child-centered class
- Children can succeed because they do not have to move forward in the learning sequence until he/she masters each prior step.
- Child can excel far beyond the group norm if he/she is ready and capable.
- Teacher is a facilitator/guide
- Environment & Method encourage self-discipline
- Mainly individual instruction
- Mixed age groupings
- Grouping encourages children to teach and help each other
- Child chooses own work with teacher guidance within prepared environment.
- Child discovers own concepts through guidance by teacher
- Child works as long as he/she chooses on a specific project
- Child sets own learning pace and develops the ability to budget own time.
- Child spots own error from feed-back of material
- Child reinforces own learning by repetition of work and internal feelings of success and desire for more advanced work
- Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration
- Organized program for learning care of self and environment
- Group work can be voluntary
- Teacher-centered class
- Child succeeds or fails based on his/her ability to grasp concepts at the group pace.
- Child is unable to excel beyond the group norm.
- Teacher is center of attention
- Teacher acts as primary enforcer of discipline
- Mainly group instruction
- Same age grouping
- Most teaching done by teacher
- Curriculum structured for child
- Teacher is source of concept discovery
- Child generally allotted certain time for work
- Instruction pace usually set by group norm.
- Errors usually pointed out by teacher
- Learning is reinforced externally by repetition and letter grades
- Few materials for sensory exploration; emphasis on worksheets
- No organized program for self-care – left primarily to parents
- Child usually assigned own chair, and required to participate, sit still and listen to group lessons