Are you looking for a preschool for your little one?
Are you confused about which schooling system to choose?
While there are various options for you to choose from, you should also consider the Montessori approach.
This article is my attempt at trying to explain everything you need to know about the Montessori approach.
In recent years, there has been an explosion in the number of schools claiming to follow the Montessori method. It has almost become a fad. So it is very important that you familiarize yourself with Montessori methods. Only then they can commit to a school. So, to make an informed decision, you must:
Carefully look at a school’s curriculum.
Observe how students and teachers interact in the classroom environment.
Check the school’s credentials
Inspect how the classrooms are structured
As a parent, being curious about how the Montessori methods work is quite natural. I will start by sharing a brief background of Montessori learning. Then, I’ll move on to highlight the core themes that are the basis of the Montessori method of teaching.
Montessori learning gets its name from its founder, Dr. Maria Montessori. She based her approach on her research on the psychology of young children. The primary aim was to create a way of teaching that revolves around the interests of a young child.
She noticed children enjoy moving around. She also noticed that kids preferred experimenting with materials rather than learning by sitting in one place and listening to teachers. So she realized kids learn better when you allow them to use their tactile, visual, and other senses to learn.
The Montessori method comprises several devices. Their goal is to create a conducive learning environment. The Montessori approach also works on the children’s social development needs, interests, and likings. It may be better to delve right in and just explain them. So, here are the Montessori themes of learning:
The first theme that we will discuss is peace education.
The scheme of Peace study implies that children of all ages need to realize the importance of maintaining peace. They should also learn about the consequences that individuals face in the absence of peace. The Montessori theory basically implies that the children, through education, should learn peace-keeping skills. As per the Montessori theory, teaching peace-making as a skill should be a regular practice. Often parents or teachers play the role of the peace-keeper between students or siblings. However, the Montessori method teaches children to take on this role for themselves. Imagine your children learning to share without throwing a tantrum. Now, isn’t that nice!
Experiential learning is the process through which kids learn something by actually doing it and then reflect on the “experience.” In early 1900s, Montessori was a psychologist working with developmentally challenged kids in Rome. Over time, she observed that kids enjoyed moving around and experimenting with objects. She realized they learned far quicker and better this way. So, she made experiential learning a cornerstone of her method.
As a result, children in the Montessori system may move around the classroom and interact freely. All the while, experimenting with different materials and objects. Young kids learn through hands-on activities. So they learn a lot quicker while having fun.
The Montessori method of learning centers on integrating subject materials into similar themes. This allows for your kid’s learning experience to be far more comprehensive. By combining subject materials, the distinction and separation between various subjects become blurred. This allows kids to explore a single topic from the perspective of different subjects.
For example, children can be engaged in sorting blocks and making piles of different colored blocks. They can also practice counting the number of blocks in each stack while they sort the blocks. Simultaneously counting and sorting blocks allows the young minds to practice two skills at one time. Along with multi-tasking, they also learn about the different perspectives to view a situation.
With subject material integration, your child now has more time to practice a single activity without worrying about time. More extended work periods enable the children to develop an in-depth understanding of the concepts at hand. They have plenty of time to grasp the concepts in their entirety.
The Montessori method of teaching, unlike other teaching methods, also focuses on teaching moral values and social skills to the child. In addition, Montessori learning emphasizes the overall development of the children. This includes their physical and emotional health. The curriculum also covers aspects of emotional and spiritual health, as well as social skills.
Under the Montessori curriculum, your child will learn practical life skills and social skills such as table manners, sharing food, and cleaning behind themselves. To maintain your child’s physical health, the child will engage in outdoor and indoor sports activities. The cherry on top is that your child’s mental needs will also be addressed. Activities such as meditation and yoga will help your child maintain a balance in their emotions.
One of the most prominent features of Montessori learning is a prepared environment. The term prepared environment refers to a classroom setup that is fully equipped with objects, such as educational toys and materials that specifically target the learning requirements of children.
When you drop your child off at school, they will walk into a world of colorful wonders. Your child’s classroom is prepared and decorated, making it an alluring sight for your kid. In a Montessori setup, study materials are neatly organized on shelves and racks. Your child can easily access these study materials. Colorful and eye-catching decor, well-lit rooms along with easy to reach shelves make the Montessori classrooms more attractive and welcoming. They also make learning independently easier for your child.
Unlike mainstream schooling, Montessori classrooms offer individualized learning. The Montessori method bases individualized learning on individual interests and learning the child’s learning pace. Under the Montessori curriculum, each child receives personal attention and guidance at a pace that suits their needs. Hence, in a Montessori set up, your child will receive individualized attention from the teacher.
The Montessori method limits the role of a teacher to that of a guide only. The teacher does not dictate information to the students but can support and guide them wherever they need guidance and help. So basically, the teacher will only help your child when he needs help. Otherwise, the child works independently or in a group with Peers.
In contrast to the teacher-centric classrooms, the Montessori classrooms are intrinsically student-centered. Students are provided different objects and materials so that they can explore on their own. However, the teacher will guide the student and ensure that no child causes distractions for others as they learn together.
Students are in mixed-age groups, per the Montessori ideology, to encourage students to learn from their peers. Since the intellectual levels are similar in children of similar age groups, the learning process becomes more accessible when a peer explains or demonstrates a concept. In a Montessori classroom, your child will not only be learning new things from the teacher but will also observe and learn new skills from their peers.
Although the Montessori method was first discovered in the early 20th century, it remains the crème de crème of early years schooling.