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The Montessori method was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, a medical doctor, teacher, philosopher and anthropologist. For more than a hundred years, this method has proved to be one of the most successful all over the world and among different cultures.
Children are innately interested in learning about the world around them and through their natural curiosity are able to develop themselves. By providing an environment that supports natural development, Montessori education enables children to develop the fundamental capacities that they need to become happy and successful adults in this challenging world.
Authentic Montessori environments encompass the following principles:
Montessori schools promote hands on, self paced, collaborative, joyful learning. Children in Montessori follow their interests, wherever that passion leads; giving them strong academics, leadership, self discipline, responsibility, independence, initiative and a lifelong love of learning.
The Montessori Method is comprised of five distinct areas of concentration:
Practical Life enhances skills and coordination through gross and fine motor tasks. These activities serve to increase children's attention span and encourage task completion.
The Sensorial area helps children develop and refine their senses to discriminate, categorize and explore key concepts.
Mathematics makes use of manipulative materials to enable children to understand abstract concepts of numbers, symbols, the decimal system, mathematical operations, and basic number facts.
Language Arts includes oral language development, written expression, reading, grammar, creative dramatics, and children's literature.
Enrichment activities expose children to music, movement, culture, art and geography.
Emphasis on cognitive structure and social development.
Emphasis on rote knowledge and social development.
Teacher has unobtrusive role in classroom activity; child is an active participant in learning.
Teacher has domain, active role in classroom activity; child is a passive participant in learning.
Environment and method encourage internal self-discipline.
Teacher acts as primary enforcer of external discipline.
Instruction, both individual and group, adapts to each student’s learning style.
Instruction, both individual and group, conforms to the adult’s teaching style.
Mixed age grouping.
Same age grouping.
Children are encouraged to teach, collaborate, and help each other.
Most teaching is done by teacher and collaboration is discouraged
Child chooses own work from interests and abilities.
Curriculum structured for child with little regard for child’s interests.
Child formulates own concepts from self- teaching materials.
Child is guided to concepts by teacher
Child works as long as she/he wishes on chosen project.
Child generally given specific time limit for work.
Child sets own learning pace to internalize information.
Instruction pace usually set by group norm or teacher.
Child spots own errors through feedback from the material.
If work is corrected, errors usually pointed out by teacher.
Learning is reinforced internally through the child’s own repetition of an activity and internal feelings of success.
Learning is reinforced externally by rote repetition and rewards/discouragements.
Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration.
Fewer materials for sensory development and concrete manipulation.
Organized program for learning care of self and environment (polishing shoes, cleaning the sink, etc.)
Less emphasis on self-care instruction and classroom maintenance.
Child can work where she/he is comfortable, moves around and talks at will (yet disturbs not the work of others); group work is voluntary and negotiable.
Child usually assigned own chair; encouraged to sit still and listen during group sessions.
Organized program for parents to understand the Montessori philosophy and participate in the learning process.
Voluntary parent involvement, often only as fundraisers, not participants in understanding the learning process.