Frequently Asked Questions about Montessori
How is a Montessori school different from other Preschools?
In most preschools the children are taught educational concepts in a group by a teacher. In a Montessori pre-school, the children learn concepts spontaneously as they work independently with many materials in the environment
What is the Montessori Method of education?
The Montessori Method of education is basically a unique approach to learning. Rather than “teaching” the child concepts, an enriched environment is designed to stimulate the child’s interest and facilitate his understanding and learning capacities spontaneously with necessary help. The main purpose of the Montessori Method is to develop an environment where the child can unfold spontaneously and manifest the greater within.
Who started the Montessori Method?
Dr. Maria Montessori, over 80 years ago, was Italy’s first female medical doctor. Using her scientific background, she began observing children in Rome. Based on her unbiased observation she developed unique materials, a child centered environment, and was one of the first people to revolutionize education for the child based on mutual respect, freedom of expression, self education, and training through use of movement and the senses.
What is in a Montessori classroom?
The Montessori classroom is a child-sized world. Whatever is in the world outside can be incorporated meaningfully into the Montessori classroom. By careful selection of materials by the teacher, an environment is setup that allows the child a place to explore life on a level he can understand. This prepared environment entices the child to proceed at his own pace from simple activities to more complex ones. Through this process, the child’s natural curiosity is satisfied and he begins to experience the joy of discovering the world around him. Materials and curriculum center on Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, Geography, Science, Art, and Music, and Physical Education.
Why should I send my child to Montessori?
Most educators and psychologists today agree that the single most important period in the development of a person’s intelligence occurs between birth and age six. A child’s mind is extremely absorbent and his curiosity is at a peak during these early years. When properly nourished and stimulated the child’s mind forms patterns for learning that serve him well through his life. The Montessori system of preschool education has proven to be one of the most effective and fastest growing methods to guide a child through these critical years. Beyond those years, Montessori continues to stimulate the intellectual, social, and emotional growth of the child in unique and effective ways.
How do children interact in the environment?
As the children develop their sense of pride in their “work”, a feeling of confidence, well being, and joy begins to manifest itself in the child. A “new” child is born. A classroom of Montessori children is a joy to watch. There seems to be a spirit of respect, love, and cooperation among the children.
What is the role of the Montessori teacher?
The Montessori teacher is called a Directress because she facilitates the classroom activity. She carefully plans the environment in the interest of children and she helps the children progress from one activity to the next. She is trained to work with each child individually, allowing him/her to choose from many activities within his/her range of abilities. She stands back while a child is working and allows the child the satisfaction of his/her own discovery.
With all the freedom, isn't there confusion?
The concept of freedom in the classroom is a freedom with limits. A child is allowed to work freely as long as they do not disturb others. Actually, children who are allowed this freedom are able to follow their interests and are generally happy and busily involved in their work.
What are the advantages of three year mixed-age groupings?
The Montessori program is designed to include developmental learning materials and activities which are sequential and meant to be experienced over a three-year time span and not in individual, successive one year capsules. While a child may gain much from attending the program for any length of time, full benefits are likely to require extended exposure.
Skills, such as reading, which are not so much taught as they are learned, require progressive build up for successful flowering. The same can be said for such acquisitions as personal work habits and social consciousness. These also require time for internalization.
A mixed age grouping allows younger children to have models for emulation and gives the older children an opportunity to reinforce their knowledge by helping the younger ones. Each child has the opportunity to experience being the youngest, middle and oldest member of the group.
How do Montessori children adjust to public schools?
Children who have been in a Montessori environment are generally very flexible and adjust easily to the public school system. They may be better students and spend their time in a more productive way because of their self directions and positive attitude toward learning.