• What is Montessori?

  • Montessori is an approach to the education of children ...

    It is a view of how children develop and learn which has been translated into a systematic method of education based upon careful scientific study.

    Montessori education was founded in 1907 by Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman in Italy to become a physician. Her scientific observations of children’s learning process have resulted in her educational approach which is now used in over 7,000 schools worldwide. Guided by her discovery that children teach themselves, Dr. Montessori designed a “prepared environment” in which children could freely choose from a number of developmentally appropriate activities. Now, nearly a century after Maria Montessori’s first casa dei bambini (“children’s house”) in Rome, Montessori education is found all over the world.

  • The Montessori Method

    In the Montessori “prepared environment”, the children are the center of education, with a program adapted to their interests and needs. The child develops independence, self-confidence, self-discipline and learns skills needed for higher education. There is a full component of Montessori materials designed to allow children to absorb concepts through their senses as directed by their own “sensitive periods” for learning.

    Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. The self-correcting materials help the children develop motor and sensory skills, lengthening concentration span, and problem-solving techniques. Children learn by repetition, at their own individual pace and according to their own choice of activities.

    The child is guided by the teacher who will show him or her how to do the activities. The teacher observes the child and will not interfere so long as the child is working with the material productively. When a difficulty arises the teacher is able to step in and offer instruction. Each child’s individual needs are assessed through observation so that they are shown new activities when they are developmentally ready. The teacher is not teaching the child, but she is guiding them through their own learning journey.

    Children are free to move through the environment according to their individual inner needs which assists in their natural development. This freedom of movement helps children to develop coordination, concentration, and inner discipline which leads to independence.

    All Montessori lessons are presented in English with particular focus on oral language through poetry, song, conversation and literature. Classes are of mixed-ages so younger children look to the older ones as role models, and the self-esteem of older children grows as they become mentors and leaders in the classroom.

    Learning in a Montessori classroom is an exciting process leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, cooperation, respect, patience, caring, love of learning and discovery of the world within a safe prepared classroom.

  • Montessori Areas of Learning

    The Montessori Method is characterized by providing a prepared environment: tidy, pleasing in appearance, simple and real, where each element exists for a reason in order to help in the development of the child.

    The prepared environment offers the child opportunities to commit to interesting and freely chosen work, which brings out long periods of concentration that should not be interrupted. Freedom develops within clear limits, and this allows children to live in harmony with others in the small society they belong to in the classroom. There are 5 key areas of learning in the Montessori environment include:

    Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, and Culture.

  • Practical life includes life skills
    • Care of Self (food preparation, dressing, washing)
    • Care of Environment (cleaning, gardening, care of pets, environmentalism)
    • Grace and Courtesy (greetings, manners, social interactions)
    • Control of Movement (refining movements, walking the line, moving quietly)
    Sensorial activities allows the child to refine each of their senses
    • Sight (visual)
    • Touch (tactile)
    • Smell (olfactory)
    • Taste (gustatory)
    • Sound (auditory)
    • Stereognostic (kinaesthetic)

    Includes the manipulation of specifically designed materials that isolate qualities. Refines fine motor skills, visual and auditory senses and develops coordination and the ability to order and classify. Materials include Pink Tower, Brown Stairs, Knobbed Cylinders, Colour Tablets.

    Language is based on phonetic awareness

    Children work through specific hands-on and tactile language materials such as the sandpaper letters to the moveable alphabet. Language is not an isolated topic but runs through the curriculum. The spoken language is the foundation for writing and then reading.

    Mathematics is developed with the use of concrete learning materials

    The sensorial area is the preparation for mathematics. Hands-on materials are used such as number rods, sandpaper numbers, number boards, spindle box, number tiles, beads, and games. Each exercise builds upon another and the child gradually moves from concrete to abstract areas such as place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and fractions.

    Culture allows the child to explore the natural world around them and includes
    • Geography (continents, landforms, earth layers, solar system)
    • Zoology (classification, physiology of animals)
    • Botany (ecology, classification, physiology of plants)
    • History (time lines, using a calendar)
    • Science

    Art and music could be considered cultural activities, however, creativity is encouraged across all curriculum areas. The cultural area is clearly identifiable by globes, puzzle maps, flags and perhaps images or materials from other cultures.

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