Montessori is a hands-on, interactive approach to learning. Through special materials and guidance from the directress, the child’s spirit, creativity and imagination are awakened. In the prepared environment, the child learns to become independent, and develops an intrinsic motivation to learn. While exploring the environment and being able to choose his own activities, the child develops a love of learning.
How did the Montessori Method begin?
Dr. Maria Montessori developed her method of instruction in the early 1900's and opened her first school in Rome in 1907. The “method” is based on Montessori’s own scientific observations of young children. Through her observations, she learned that children learn best in a homelike setting, with materials provided that allow self-exploration and independence.
Her approach is often referred to as the “whole child” approach in that the method is based on teaching to all areas of a child’s development; the social, academic, physical and psychological.
What do the children do?
There are seven areas of interest in the classroom.
*Practical Life: Maria Montessori believed that the child creates himself through purposeful activity. Hand washing, dish washing, plant watering, and polishing are some activities that help your child to become independent while preparing them for real life. The purpose of these activities is to help to develop their concentration, coordination, attention to detail and sense of order.
*Sensorial: An assortment of activities that teach the child how to discriminate between different colors, shapes, textures, sounds. Helps to develop their perceptual and sensory abilities and to categorize new information.
*Language: Language skills are encouraged through a phonics curriculum. Children learn the sounds of the letters, then match objects to the letters and eventually use a moveable alphabet to form simple words. This is the beginning of the reading stage. Books are available at all levels for beginning to advanced readers.
Mathematics: The decimal system is introduced and children acquire mathematic skills through use of concrete concepts and items like beads, spindles and various counting objects. Advanced math materials teach geometry, fractions, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Geography: Through the use of concrete materials children learn about the world around them. Wooden puzzle maps of the continents are introduced and artifacts are displayed from various cultures. The children learn about various land forms and what the earth is made of. Discussion of many cultures and celebrations of multicultural holidays and events teach respect, tolerance and acceptance of the global community.
Science/Nature: Children are introduced to life in its various forms. Plants and animals are studied and observed. Children are taught to respect all life forms and to take care of their environment. Discussions center around the change of the seasons and children are encouraged to bring in objects from nature.
Creative Arts: Art, drama, music and movement allow the children to express their creativity, explore their imagination, and encourage self-expression. Various art mediums are available for the children to create their own experiences. A myriad of musical rhythms are introduced, various dances explored and dramatic productions (plays) are created.
Is the child free to move about the classroom?
The child is free to move about the classroom as long as he/she is not disrupting others. The child may choose the materials she would like to work with and may use the material for as long as she needs if she is respecting the material and not disturbing others.
What does the Montessori method do for the child?
The Montessori method:
- encourages self-discipline
- develops child’s competence and confidence
- fosters independence
- prepares children academically for life-long learning
- creates enthusiasm and love for learning
- teaches self-respect and respect for others
- promotes social responsibility
- encourages independent thinking and problem-solving
- fosters spiritual awareness
- nourishes empathic, sensitive and compassionate individuals
What happens when a child moves from a Montessori school to a traditional school?
The transition for a child moving from a Montessori classroom to a more traditional setting is usually a smooth one. The Montessori child has already developed the skills that he will need to thrive in any academic setting. Some of the skills include, self-esteem, self-confidence, competence in social and academic abilities and critical thinking skills. The child will also have developed the intrinsic motivation to learn and the self-discipline he needs to succeed in any environment.
Our goal is to provide the tools your child needs to become an independent, confident and well-rounded individual. Through engaging activities and materials, we instill in the children a love of learning. The children become intrinsically motivated due to their passion for learning. Hence, their motivation, curiosity and interest become the impetus for life-long learning.
We also strive to impart the message of Dr. Maria Montessori, that we are a community. We are here to help one another, and to learn from one another. Through modeling in the classroom, we teach the children respect and kindness, and we believe they will carry this message with them to the larger community in adulthood.