What is Montessori Education?
The fundamental tenet of Montessori education is to allow children to learn in a social environment that supports the unique development of each child. As opposed to the more traditional “Kindergarten”, which involves group learning, Montessori emphasizes individual learning. Children learn better on an individual level, since not two children are alike and children will be ready for different experiences at different times.
Montessori recognizes that children go through different stages of development during which they can most easily master a particular learning skill. These developmental stages occur at different times for different children. Individual learning gives each child the chance to master a particular learning skill relevant to his/her developmental stage.
Montessori emphasizes children’s developmental age and not their chronological age, since age does not determine a child’s ability. Classes are structured within a three year age range. This gives children a chance to work at their own pace without being judged as quick or slow in comparison to their specific age group. When children work in mixed age groups, they will have a graded series of models for imitation and the opportunity to reinforce their knowledge by helping each other.
The holistic Montessori curriculum helps children develop the physical, cognitive and emotional competence and positive attitude towards learning that is required for school success.
The learning environment ensures the development of self-esteem and provides experiences from which children can create their knowledge.
The Montessori Method
Children enter the world with amazing powers gifted by nature. With the adult’s help in preparing an environment conducive to the child’s development, the child can independently carry out the important task of constructing her personality.
This was the great discover that Dr. Maria Montessori made; that the child creates herself, revealing the person that she can become. This is the primary task of the child. The universal nature of her discovery of the child has been proven for more than 100 years throughout the word, with children in all cultural, social, physical and psychological conditions.
Dr. Montessori describes education as an aid to life, as a means of supporting and nurturing the continual unfolding of each child’s personality. Based on careful, systematic observations of children and their needs and interests at each level of development, the Montessori approach to early childhood education recognizes the tremendous developmental achievements each child is capable of if given the properly prepared environment.
Association Montessori Internationale www.montessori-ami.org
North American Montessori Teacher’s Association (NAMTA) www.montessori-namta.org
Maria Montessori.com www.mariamontessori.com