When choosing a preschool and a pedagogical method of learning, consider the Montessori method for your kids. It is a tough decision for parents to choose a schooling system that fits their kid’s characters and will help them in their journey to learn about the world around them.
We all know that the defining characteristics of our kids are shaped within the first five years of their lives. So, it is very important that we as parents prepare them to the best of our abilities in those early years. In this article, I will focus on the myths that are common about the Montessori method of teaching.
It is essential to understand what sets the Montessori method apart. So, let’s dive into what this method is all about.
What is the Montessori Method of Teaching?
The Montessori method receives its name from its founder, Dr. Maria Montessori. She suggested that students learn better in a prepared environment. Within this Montessori environment, materials are easily accessible. The environment is also filled with colorful and attractive objects. Therefore, a typical Montessori classroom is full of colors and play materials. Colorful play items and displays help make the classroom more engaging for the children. Teachers are guides and carefully plan and decorate the classroom with play materials. These play materials help the learning process.
In the Montessori approach, children are free to explore and experiment. This, which is also called experiential learning, allows kids to move around freely and learn better on their own, with the teacher playing the role of the guide. Working in a group also helps encourage peer learning.
If you are like me, you want your child to grow spiritually as well as academically. I’m not talking about religiosity, but spirituality here. In that case, you should seriously consider the Montessori method because it specifically focuses on sensory and practical life skills development.
Differentiated learning is also one of the Montessori method’s unique characteristics that emphasize the individualistic learning needs of each child. Under differentiated learning, each child receives solo attention from the teacher. The curriculum for each child has a customized design to suit the learning needs of that particular child.
The Montessori method was a product of extensive research and repeated observation of how children behave and learn. The method may be old but is not an utterly obsolete method.
Common Myths about the Montessori Method of Teaching:
Here are the five most common myths that you are likely to hear about the Montessori learning method:
Montessori schools are only for the early years of schooling
Children are free to do whatever they wish with no rules
Montessori schools are non-contemporary and an outdated
Montessori schools are just for children with special or differential learning needs
Montessori Method of teaching discourages creativity
Debunking the Myths and Misconceptions about the Montessori Method of Teaching:
- Montessori schools = Early years schooling
Let’s move on to debunking the myth that Montessori learning is only good for the early years of schooling. This misconception that Montessori schools are limited to the early years of education is fairly common. However, it is not true, as the Montessori method is not a curriculum but a teaching style used at any level. For example, themes such as hands-on learning and student-centered classrooms are easy to adapt to at any level. Consider also that public schools in the US have increasingly failed to develop well-rounded individuals. In fact, public education has become a hot-button subject in America. While there are so many factors contributing to this issue, for me at least, it is the fact that we teach every child the same subject the same way, regardless of aptitude or cognitive development. Not all children learn the same and treating them as if they do is a disservice to the child.
- Unsupervised and unregulated classrooms
Another common misconception about the Montessori teaching method is that children can do whatever they wish without supervision and there is no discipline in a Montessori classroom setup. However, this is far from the truth.
It is true that the Montessori classroom is student-centered, and children are free to experiment and examine materials, objects, and concepts. But this is actually a very positive aspect of the Montessori method when you think about it. Children are actually allowed to think for themselves and learn to become independent. The teacher is present as a guide to assist students wherever they require help. Children look to their peers and learn to interact and work in a group tackling problems together.
The teacher in a Montessori classroom also maintains discipline and ensures that no child causes distractions for the remaining students. This idea is often known as the ‘freedom within limits.’ Under this scheme, the children learn to work in groups and individually without disrupting the learning environment.
- Montessori as a Non-contemporary method of teaching
The Montessori Method has been around for a long time. Still, it continues to progress and has incorporated new knowledge and altered the existing concepts based on research. For example, some practical life skills, such as technology, are recent additions to the curriculum. The Montessori Method was the first to introduce themes, such as individualized learning and experiential or hands-on learning. These themes are now being adopted at different grade levels to enhance the learning experience at almost every school.
- Montessori is only for the differently-abled
In Maria Montessori’s opinion, each child is unique and possesses a unique set of skills, interests, and expertise. The notion that Montessori schooling is limited to slow learners or kids that cannot learn in mainstream schools is not true at all. Practitioners of the Montessori method believe that each child requires individualized attention. The Montessori method is by far the best learning method for students with learning disabilities. This is because the Montessori method allows these children to carry on with their learning at their own pace. But isn’t that true for every child? Every individual is unique and learns differently. Therefore, the Montessori method is an ideal method of teaching where the education of each child matters.
- The Montessori Method as a Destroyer of Creativity
The Montessori Method lays its foundations on the fact that practical skills need to be a part of a child’s learning process. Children are encouraged to experiment and learn through hands-on experience rather than just playing around. Instead of the teacher helping with everything, the children use their creative minds to do the problem-solving exercise. The Montessori classroom hence encourages creative thinking.
In a typical Montessori classroom, the teacher is not the solo performer. Each child gets to contribute their share of learning in a Montessori setup. This means that if your child has a question or a unique idea, they are free to express their thoughts. This leads to a more comprehensive learning experience for all students present in the classroom. Hence, Montessori learning is a comprehensive coaching approach that ensures concept-based learning for each student.