The Montessori method of education has been widely accepted around the world for more than a century. Initially built as an orthophrenic school for mentally disabled children Dr. Maria Montessori opened her first Casa Dei Bambini in 1907 to help normal children achieve optimum excellence.
The Montessori method of education is a unique pedagogical approach that promotes child-centered education, hands-on learning, and self-directed collaborative play which builds children’s natural curiosity as well as helps the children grow at their own pace.
Unlike, other traditional institutions a Montessori institution is a mixed-age-level institution that encourages children to become self-dependent and confident.
The use of didactic Montessori materials to facilitate education is one of the key elements of the Montessori method along with a Prepared Environment.
The Montessori approach is a well-structured method of imparting education during early childhood that facilitates every requirement throughout the development process.
The Montessori method of education puts significant emphasis on sensorial stimulation.
According to Dr. Montessori, the senses are the gateway to knowledge. Hence, the Montessori program is based on activity-based learning.
Children in a Montessori classroom are encouraged to use naturally sourced materials and apparatus during their education process.
While keeping the basic Human Tendencies in mind, the materials act as educational stimuli that keep the child attentive and interested in the classroom.
- Creative Imagination
The Montessori curriculum includes three classes of activities:
- Practical-based learning
- Sensory stimulation
- Development of formal skills and education.
Through the Montessori curriculum, the child learns basic life skills pivotal for his mental and physical development.
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.
The length of the day in a Montessori institution depends on the age of the pupil
The Montessori method includes language, mathematical skills as well as cultural education.
The curriculum of the Montessori method is comprised of five major parts:
1. Practical Life
It is essential for the child’s cognitive and physical growth to acquire practical and physical knowledge.
The Montessori curriculum develops the child’s natural interest in self-care and hygiene.
The Montessori curriculum involves real-life activities which instill independence, order, and confidence in pupils.
Refer to: https://mymontessorimoments.com/practical-life-activities-in-montessori/ and https://mymontessorimoments.com/montessori-practical-life-materials/ for Practical life materials/ activities.
Children start developing a sense of awareness towards themselves, their belongings, and their actions.
- Development of Motor skills:
- Rolling and unrolling a rug
- Using spoons/bowls and other utensils
- Opening and closing jars/bottles
- Lift chairs
- as well as other activities that help in the development of fine motor skills.
- Self-care and hygiene:
- Using tissues/napkins
- Washing/drying hands
- Use of a bathroom
- Tying a shoelace
- Buttoning/unbuttoning or zipping clothing
- Preparing a snack
- Polishing shoes.
- Basic manners:
- Setting up a table
- Using shelves/cupboards
- Sweeping the floor
- Cleaning the surroundings
- Watering plants
- and other activities that provide balance and structure.
- Courtesy and greetings:
- Making eye contact
- Speaking softly
- Handling sharp objects
- Excusing oneself.
These activities and their repetition can help the child become confident, self-dependent and help with the development of fine motor skills as well as social skills.
2. Sensory stimulation
The Prepared environment of a Montessori classroom is designed to provide necessary stimuli that inspire the child’s curiosity.
This helps the developing mind of the child to compare, analyze, classify, judge, and draw conclusions.
Refer to: https://mymontessorimoments.com/sensorial-materials/ and https://mymontessorimoments.com/montessori-sensorial-activities/ for Sensorial materials/activities.
The sensory stimuli also help children stay attentive during the education process. Physical activities and exercise ensure the use of all five senses while learning.
- Visual stimuli:
The child is provided with materials like:
- Tactile stimuli:
the child is provided with materials like:
- fabrics with distinct textures
- touch boards
- mystery bags
Other methods of stimulation are also included in the Montessori curriculum. The use of Auditory(listening), Olfactory (smelling), and gustatory(tasting) stimuli are also promoted. .
Language in the Montessori curriculum is considered to be the foundation of linguistic expression.
The Montessori curriculum helps children learn how to:
- hold a pencil
- use writing instruments
- as well as learn how to read written material such as phonetics analysis, word skills, and reading that help them develop fine motor control for writing.
Refer to: https://mymontessorimoments.com/montessori-language-activities/ and https://mymontessorimoments.com/language-montessori-materials/ for Language Activites and Materials
This helps children express themselves verbally with confidence and learn how to read and write in one or multiple languages.
- Concrete materials:
- Moveable alphabets
- Three-part cards
- Metal insects
are used to develop linguistic skills in the child.
- Oral Language:
Oral language exercises and Expansion of vocabulary are encouraged in the Montessori curriculum.
The Montessori curriculum provides mathematical knowledge that ensures cognitive development and prepares the child for the gradual shift to abstract thinking.
The use of concrete materials is important when facilitating mathematical knowledge.
Refer to: https://mymontessorimoments.com/montessori-maths-activities/ and https://mymontessorimoments.com/math-montessori-materials/ for Math Materials and activities.
Hands-on learning is the most effective method to instill mathematical knowledge in young minds.
- Understanding numbers:
Children are provided with materials like:
- Memory boxes
- Short-bead stairs
- Spindle boxes
- Learning decimal categories:
The child learns about units with the help of symbol association. The child is provided with Materials like:
- Decimal trays
- Golden bead layouts
- Building trays
- Fetching trays
- Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division:
The children are provided with Materials like:
- Red and Blue rods
- Addition Stripboard
- Multiplication Board
- Multiplication with Golden Beads Layout
- Subtraction Stripboard
- Division with Golden Beads Layout
- Division Stripboard
Development of fundamentals of mathematics is facilitated with help of the stamp game and the dot game.
5. Cultural knowledge
The Montessori curriculum introduces children to scientific subjects like:
These subjects cultivate a natural curiosity in the child towards nature and the world.
With the help of specially designed maps, the pupil can learn geography. Cultural knowledge also includes music, history, arts, and dance.
- the children get to learn about-
- Living and Non-living objects
- Animal kingdom
- Fruit and Vegetables
- Flora and Fauna
- Life cycles of multiple animals
- Herbivore, Carnivore, Omnivore,
- Magnetism and buoyancy
- students develop fine motor skills,
- hand-eye coordination,
- learn how to express themselves through the medium of art.
- Children learn multiple art forms including:
- Art expression
- Computer Designing
The children learn about
- The Land, Air, Water
- Land and water forms
- Use Map cabinets as wells Globes
- Learn about Continents and Countries
With help of this vast Montessori curriculum, the child can attain higher levels of mental, physical, social, emotional, and cognitive attributes.
Montessori Curriculum of different ages:
The Montessori method of education provides children with a Prepared Environment that gives children the freedom to completely develop through physical and sensorial stimulation.
The children are given the freedom to participate in activities of their choice and learn at their own pace.
The Montessori method of education promotes independent learning and gives the child a boost of confidence. With the help of the Montessori curriculum, the child is able to develop self-confidence, self-awareness, and self-control.
The Montessori method provides children of different ages with different curricula to facilitate proper education based on their requirements.
Refer this to further understand the Montessori curriculum.
Montessori Program for Infants and Toddlers: (0 to 3 years)
During the first three years, the child is considered to be an unconscious learner.
The children during this age learn through their sense of smell, taste, touch, and sight.
It is important to provide children enough with enough stimuli to keep them engaged and attentive.
The Montessori curriculum for infants between the ages of 0 to 3 years includes the development of problem-solving skills, language, concentration, and coordination.
Refer to: https://www.nienhuis.com/int/en/infant-toddler/page/1068/
- The Nido Program (2 to 18 months):
A Montessori classroom for infants is called “The Nido” meaning “nest” in Italian.
The classroom provides infants with a peaceful environment where the infant has free range of movement.
Parents can also join a Baby-class to further connect with their budding infant.
The infant can explore and interact with parents, teachers, objects, and other infants. The classroom has specially designed infant-sized:
- and Materials like:
- Music Box (auditory stimulation)
- Monari, Gobbi, and Octahedron mobiles(visual development)
- Wooden toys, interlocking circles, rubber figures, beads (grasping materials)
- Rings, bells, home objects are used during the education process to develop the child’s gross motor skills and coordination.
- The Toddler Program (18 months to 3 years):
It is important to provide young developing toddlers freedom and independence.
The Montessori program should help with the development of the motor skills and linguistic skills of the toddler.
The child learns:
- Basic self-care
- Order, structure
- Personal hygiene
The children in a Montessori classroom along with child-sized furniture are also provided with child-sized beds. The activities in the toddler program are:
- Self-care and hygiene: using the bathroom, dressing, eating, using bowls and spoons.
- Gross Motor skill development: Cleaning the classroom, snack preparation, setting up a table.
- Care of the environment: balance, walking, running, jumping, steps.
- Fine motor skills: Holding a pencil, grasping objects, transferring objects, artwork.
- Linguistic skills: greetings, object names, conversation, identifying objects from pictures, music.
- Social skills: interaction with peers, teachers, adults, and parents.
Montessori Program for Toddlers: (3 years to 6 years)
The children move from being unconscious learners to “conscious workers”.
According to Dr. Montessori, the child has an absorbent mind between the ages of 3 to 6 years and is able to absorb the knowledge, stimuli as well as information in the surrounding environment like a sponge.
The Montessori method promotes self-directed learning which allows children to joyfully learn by their experience at their own pace.
The Montessori curriculum gives toddlers the opportunity to bring out their inner potentialities, participate in any activity of their choice, build concentration levels, enhance their artistic imagination, and build their social skills.
The Montessori curriculum for Toddlers between the ages of 3 to 6 years is:
- Language: During this stage, the toddler gradually transitions from spoken language to written language.
The Montessori curriculum promotes the use of spoken language as a medium of self-expression. The children are gradually introduced to reading through the use of concrete materials starting from:
Blocks to develop their reading skills
Enrichment of vocabulary is essential at this stage.
- Practical Life: the repetition of practical activities develops fine motor skills in children as well as builds their confidence and independence.
The Montessori curriculum allows children after the age of 3 to participate in practical life activities.
These activities take into account the four main aspects of development:
- Fine Motor Development
- Care for the environment
These key aspects highly emphasize the development of basic life skills.
- Mathematics: with the help of the Montessori curriculum the child is able to gradually make a shift from concrete mathematics to abstract mathematics.
The Montessori curriculum provides concrete materials to facilitate mathematical education.
The children are provided with Materials like
- Golden beads layout
- Stip boards
- Colored rods
- Blocks steps
Sandpapers are used to acquaint the children with complex mathematical topics.
- Sensorial development: The toddler between the ages of 3 to 6 years has an absorbent mind and is receptive to outward stimuli present in the classroom environment.
The Montessori curriculum provides children with appropriate visual, tactical, auditory, olfactory, and gustatory stimuli to facilitate education.
- Visual stimuli: pink tower, brown steps, red and blue colored rods, golden beads, monomial, binomial and trinomial cubes.
- Tactical stimuli: touch boards, fabrics with textures, touch trays.
- Auditory stimuli: bells, rings, sound cylinders
- Gustatory stimuli: Tasting tray
- Olfactory stimuli: smelling bottles
- Culture and Science: The toddlers are introduced to complex scientific subjects like:
which builds a natural curiosity in the toddler towards the world. Subjects like geography, history, biology, and arts are promoted to instill cultural knowledge in toddlers.
Maps, globes, pictures, models, and booklets are used as materials.
Montessori Program for Children: (6 years to 12 years)
The Montessori Curriculum for children between the ages of 6 to 12 years is divided into 2 parts. These parts are Elementary and Upper Elementary.
From age 6 the child starts developing the ability to reason.
The child is able to raise complex questions and draw conclusions.
The ages between 6 to 9 are the years of curiosity. The children start understanding the functioning of the world and the importance of morality.
The children are able to set boundaries and follow social norms.
The child at this stage becomes aware of the concept of injustice.
The Montessori curriculum for children between the ages of 6 to 9 years comprises of:
- Development of cultural knowledge:
once children are able to clear the basic concepts of:
- Physical geography
- Solar system
- other cultural subjects
They move to more complex and compelling cultural topics.
The children are also encouraged to participate in artistic activities. The children are also promoted to perform in musical bands.
- Language: The Montessori curriculum further develops the child’s linguistic skills.
Huge emphasis is laid on:
- Creative writing
- Fluency in a language
- Mathematics: The children between the ages of 6 to 9 learn how to solve advanced mathematical problems.
The Montessori curriculum with the use of concrete materials helps children clear basic mathematical concepts.
The children are able to learn about:
- Prime factors
- Square roots
- other basic mathematical operations
Along with cultural, mathematical, and linguistic knowledge, the Montessori curriculum also includes computer classes.
Upper Elementary children: (9 years to 12 years)
From age 9 the child boards on the journey of intellectual growth. The child questions and reasons as well as develop an intense interest in law, justice, and fairness.
The child willingly wants to understand the world and its functioning.
The Montessori curriculum on the basis of prior education imparts knowledge about:
- knowledge of the universe and its functioning.
The education related to the universe is termed cosmic education.
As the child progresses the difficulty and complexity of the subjects intensify.
The Montessori curriculum also introduced social and moral aspects to children. The children with the help of the Montessori curriculum become responsible, thoughtful, as well as self-aware.
Montessori Program for Adolescence: (12 years to 18 years)
During the adolescence, stage children go through a rapid transition mentally as well as physically.
Read here to further learn about the Montessori Curriculum for children between the ages of 12 to 18 years.
The children around this age are at the threshold of becoming an adult.
The classes for the Montessori Program for adolescents are divided into sections one for the ages 12 to 15 years and another for 15 to 18years.
The Montessori Curriculum for teenagers develops their interest in practical life they will have as an adult.
The Montessori curriculum incorporates economics as well as preparations for adulthood for teenagers.
The teenagers are encouraged to participate in a real-life situation with real-life consequences.
The Montessori curriculum prepares teenagers for the future. This method is referred to as “valorization” meaning the internal and external validation of inner potentialities and personality.
The teenagers along with new-found knowledge of adult lives also get a chance to map out their future prospects.
The Montessori Curriculum helps teenagers become responsible, confident, and prepares them to become a contributing part of society.
What is the need of a vast Curriculum like Montessori?
The Montessori Method of teaching assimilate a diverse range of subjects, topics, and concepts in the curriculum.
Upon first look, this vast and diverse curriculum may seem intimidating to most Montessori beginners, but after a bit of research, one can definitely understand the need for such a rich curriculum.
The Montessori Method of education equips the child with all the necessary tools to become, mature, independent, and a confident individual who is ready to become contributing adult in society.
With exciting Montessori Materials and activities that are integrated in the curriculum, the child can successfully understand the intimate details of several complex topics and build a firm foundation for future abstract topics.
The vastness and richness of information in the Montessori Curriculum is an advantage for the pupils as this curriculum provides the child with higher levels of intellectual as well as cognitive attainments.