A Montessori School is a multi-age level institution that provides self-directed, collaborative, and child-centered education to children from the ages of three years and up. Montessori schools develop the child’s natural interest in the classroom unlike, other conventional educational institutions.
This method was developed by an Italian physician Maria Montessori (1870-1952) in the year 1907.
The method was initially developed for mentally challenged children, which then upon success was tried on slum children in 1907 and was titled “The Montessori Method”.
This method of education was developed after Montessori’s scientific observations of human beings from birth to death.
The observation of human behavior and Montessori’s pedagogical knowledge helped in the development of a system with appropriate aspects of philosophical, psychological, pedagogical, and scientific principles. This scientific and structured method of teaching changed the preschool system.
Montessori institutions know the importance of the individual needs of the absorbent mind and help in bringing out the child’s inner potential. Children in a Montessori school have an opportunity to learn at their own pace and get personalized education that caters to their needs.
The Montessori Method of teaching is designed to develop pupils’ confidence, independence, and intelligence from a very young age.
It provides a structured educational environment that not only helps children learn and grow but also has effective stimuli which keep the children attentive as well as engaged in the classroom.
The Montessori curriculum includes three classes of activities:
(1) Practical-based learning
(2) Sensory Stimulation
(3) Development of Formal Skills and education.
Through this method, the child learns basic life skills pivotal for his mental and physical development.
The repetition of physical exercise and activities develops muscular and sensory coordination in pupils. Maria Montessori believed that development should come from within.
The environment in Montessori institutions is developed to facilitate holistic development.
Montessori schools adopt an individualized teaching method that helps children learn and grow at their own pace. This method was developed to facilitate optimum development by taking the needs and requirements of a young mind into account.
The children in a Montessori school have an opportunity to enjoy as they learn and have a higher level of academic, physical, and cognitive attainment in comparison to those who do not. They also have higher levels of social skills and behavioral habits.
Features of the Montessori classroom method
A Montessori School is a multi-age level institution that provides self-directed, collaborative, and child-centered education to children from the ages of three years and up.
The most notable feature of The Montessori method is the hands-on learning method that promotes independence and confidence in children.
Other notable features of the Montessori method are:
The Montessori method provides specifically designed Montessori materials that keep the child engaged during the education process.
These materials are made of metal, wood, cotton, and bamboo. Montessori education lays heavy emphasis on sensorial training and the use of concrete materials.
Each Montessori Material is meticulously designed for a different age group and helps children comprehend complex and arbitrary concepts by isolating each skill.
Children with the help of these interactive Montessori Materials become aware of their capabilities and knowledge.
The environment in the Montessori classroom brings out the true nature of the child. There are three main components of the prepared environment of the Montessori method: the pupil, the environment itself, and the teacher.
The Montessori Prepared Environment has age-appropriate materials, child-sized furniture, and a minimalistic appeal that provide children with just enough stimuli.
The interactions between these three components along with Montessori philosophy and technology help children achieve holistic development.
Freedom and Independence
The Montessori method encourages children to make their own choices. The children have the freedom to explore, move around and interact with other pupils. Children have the freedom of choosing their activities and learning at their own pace.
Structure and order
With freedom comes responsibility. Children need to have a systematic and structured environment that helps them think rationally about the outcomes and develop confidence, reasoning skills, and a balanced perception of the world and its outcomes.
The Montessori method promotes the intermingling of different age groups. As a multi-age-level educational system Montessori method is divided into 3 stages for different age groups: 3 to 6 years old, 6 to 9 years old, and 9 to 13 years old who sometimes also co-exist in the same classroom.
The older pupils in the classroom eventually become mentors for the younger pupils and also act as helpers to the teachers.
What are the key elements of the Montessori Method?
Development from within
Education must aid in the complete unfolding of the child’s inner potentialities and individuality.
Intrinsic rewarding and non-punishing system
Material rewards and incentives are external forces that hinder the natural growing process of the child. The development should come from within.
The Montessori method caters to the importance of individuality among children. Each child in the classroom is a separate individual and every child should be helped and guided in a proper manner.
The Montessori method promotes self-education. It is important to guide and help the child rather than make the child forcefully acquire information.
The first six years of the child’s life are the crucial period for growth and development. The child during the first six years has an absorbent mind that is receptive to sensory information.
The Montessori method provides a prepared environment and a structured curriculum that focuses on the child’s holistic development.
The senses are the gateway to knowledge. The senses are most active during early childhood years.
The materials and apparatus in the Montessori method provide appropriate sensory stimulation that keeps the child attentive and engaged during the learning process.
Motor development and physical development play significant roles in early childhood education. The curriculum involves a series of physical activities, exercises, and kinesthetics that help in the development of muscles and improve muscle memory.
What does a child learn by using the Montessori method?
The Montessori Method of teaching is designed to develop pupils’ confidence, independence, and intelligence. It provides a structured educational environment that not only helps children learn and grow but also has effective stimuli which keep the children attentive in the classroom.
Through this method, the child learns basic life skills pivotal for his mental and physical development. Montessori believed that physical and motor development played a huger role in a child’s education process.
The repetition of physical exercise and activities develops muscular and sensory coordination in pupils. The activities and curriculum in a Montessori school help the children in cognitive and physical development.
Children are encouraged to go outside and indulge in physical activities and exercises which develop gross motor skills and balance. Basic hygiene and self-care are also a part of the curriculum in Montessori schools.
The Montessori method of teaching builds children’s confidence, and sense of self-awareness promotes cooperation, brings order and structure as well as sets an environment where children can concentrate. The children from Montessori institutions are explorers and seekers of knowledge.
The Activities in the Montessori method of education are arranged in a series from difficult to easy. Children learn and succeed while doing the tasks at their own speed with their own experience.
So what’s the essence of The Montessori Method of Teaching?
The Montessori Method of Teaching, in its essence, is an innovative approach that promotes the holistic development of the child by providing the child with a diverse range of Montessori Materials and Montessori Activities.
Considering all the distinct aspects, concepts, and principles this method integrates, it is safe to say that the Montessori Method of Teaching was built with the idea of the child’s overall success in mind.
With unique concepts like the Prepared environment, Periods of Sensitivity, and the significance of the Absorbent Mind, which most traditional educational institutions often overlook, this pedagogical is meant to encourage the child to excel in every necessary attribute in life.