On this page: Some Aspects of Montessori Education | The Montessori Method | The Philosophy of the Three Year Cycle in the Preprimary Environment | Some Comparisons Between Montessori and Traditional Education
Some aspects of Montessori Education
Because of the multi-age classroom, most of the lessons are taught one-on one.
This enables each child (with guidance from the teacher) to choose activities that appeal to him/her. As the child finds the learning activities geared to his needs and readiness, he can work at his own pace, repeat the tasks as often as he likes, thereby experiencing success and as a result, a love for learning.
Since the classroom is ungraded, teachers do not necessarily look at the child��s age to determine what lessons are appropriate, but rather to the child��s readiness in each of the subject areas. For example, many of the Kindergarten children who are in their third year are quite comfortable studying multiplication and division. They have been progressing in the various areas throughout their time in the classroom.
The Montessori Method helps children to develop self-confidence as independent learners. Activities are sequenced throughout the curriculum so that each new step is built on previous knowledge. Children are set up for success.
Through the unique environment, children learn the skill of concentration.
Effective learning is built on the ability to listen carefully and attend to what is said or demonstrated. Through the Montessori materials, the children form habits of extended attention and improved concentration.
Children use materials designed for experimentation, causing them to discover many aspects of the world around them. As they come to understand their world, their need for order is met, making children feel secure and eager to learn new things.
Sensory-motor skills are well-developed through the use of many of the Sensorial materials. Children manipulate various materials involving large and small muscles. These muscles become more controlled, preparing children for later writing skills.
Children grow socially and emotionally by working with others. They learn to function as part of a community, respecting one another and praying for one another. They help decide on the ground rules and understand that limits on their freedom actually help to make them more secure.
Basically, the Montessori program is devoted to the development of the whole child. By providing each child with the opportunity to achieve his own development consisting of healthy attitudes, good habits and effective skills, the program results in children having a good, solid foundation essential for a lifetime of learning, joy and success.
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The Montessori Method
2 Key Components
In comparing the Montessori curriculum with the curriculum of the Public School system, many topics may appear similar. The most striking difference is that in Montessori the children first learn each concept in a very concrete manner using materials that are ��materialized abstractions��. As a result children will have a deeper understanding of each of the subject areas which will lay the foundation for future building of knowledge. From this, children will be able to abstract with full understanding of the concepts being taught.
- The Prepared Environment
- Children have freedom to choose developmentally appropriate materials.
- Structure and order are built into the environment
- Reality and nature give children rich learning experiences
- A beautiful environment appeals to children's aesthetic sense
- The Didactic Apparatus
- Isolate one concept at a time
- Simple to complex in nature
- Preparation for future learning
- Concrete to abstract in representation
- Auto-educational (self-correcting)
- Development of community life
Children will be better equipped to concentrate, think critically, organize tasks and work independently, all the while developing a joy in learning.
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Philosophy of the Three Year Cycle in the Preprimary Environment
Social Development (Goal - cooperation)
- Provides a family-like grouping where learning takes place naturally. We do not segregate by age in any other area of society.
- Montessori��s view of the role of education is a holistic one. The development of the total child is addressed, emotional, social, and physical as well as intellectual needs met in the classroom.
Emotional Development (Goal - self-esteem)
- 1. Focus on community life
- Freedom to work together
- Freedom to make choices of work
- Freedom of conversation
- 2. Sharing and competition are not forced upon children
- The child has a right to work uninterrupted
- The child has a right to be compared only to his own past accomplishments
Intellectual Development (Goal - intelligence)
- 1. Children who feel there is a place for them within a group are more willing to participate because they feel they are a contributing factor to the process
- 2. Children need to go back to less challenging work sometimes to ��perfect�� or ��refresh�� their learning. Montessori called it ��constructive perfectionment by means of activity�� It is a time to let difficult concepts sink in.
- 3. Children of all ages feel good about themselves when they teach something to another child.
- 4. Children are more sensitive to each other��s needs.
- 5. Children are often more successful than adults in giving lessons because they (adults) are ��still too far away from the rhythms of the child��s mode of acting.��
Physical Development (Goal - muscular fitness, muscular memory)
- 1. At each age level, the Montessori classroom meets the needs of the children. The sequence of materials provides access for the children to make choices of what is appropriate for the level they are working at.
- 2. Mixed age grouping takes away any sense of competition or "how far did you get?"
- 3. Advantages of the mixed grouping:
- a. Younger children see the "possibilities of for the future."
- b. Younger children try to emulate the older children.
- c. Older children have the opportunity to build self-esteem for reasons mentioned earlier.
- d. Older children have the opportunity to reinforce skills already learned.
- e. Older children are able to break down any "barriers" to certain subjects by working with younger children. This is particularly important in language and Math because it helps them learn it themselves and they don��t feel like they are doing "baby work."
Comments from parents whose children completed the 3 year cycle:
- 1. All activities provide for movement: from shelf to rug or table, many are large motor movements (red rods, decimal layout)
- 2. Children have total freedom of movement, not confined to chair or desk.
- 3. Emphasis on opportunities to run in fresh air or open space. This is viewed equally important as classroom work as opposed to being considered "spare time" or "recess."
- 4. Balance within the environment?curriculum areas are fully utilized because of where children naturally gravitate within the classroom.
- 3 year olds spend majority of time in Practical Life and Sensorial building the foundations for future learning. They visit Math and Language for "pre" skills.
- 4 year olds are a little bit of everywhere, trying out their new skills and beginning to bloom in some.
- 5 year olds spend a majority of time in Math and Language building and practicing advanced skills and materials. They visit Practical Life and Sensorial to pull it all together. It is during this year that children really advance and blossom.
- My child has always known how to organize his work; he can plan a project and see it through to completion. (motivation and organizational skills)
- My daughter feels good about herself and her accomplishments no matter what anyone else thinks! (self-esteem and confidence)
- Our child doesn't let another person��s point of view necessarily change his. (confidence)
- When my child moved on to first grade, he was secure in his knowledge of the material, he was confident in his abilities.
- Our children love learning!
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Some Comparisons Between Montessori and Traditional Education
- Emphasis on cognitive structures and social development.
- Teacher's role is unobtrusive: child actively participates in learning.
- Environment and method encourage internal self-discipline.
- Individual and group instruction adapts to each student's learning style.
- Mixed-age grouping
- Children encouraged to teach, collaborate, and help each other.
- Child chooses own work from interests, abilities.
- Child formulates concepts from self-teaching materials.
- Child works as long as s/he wants on chosen project.
- Child sets own learning pace to internalize information.
- Child spots own errors, through feedback from material.
- Learning is reinforced internally through child's own repetition of activity, internal feelings of success repetition.
- Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration development.
- Organized program for learning care of self and self-care classroom environment.
- Emphasis on role knowledge and social development.
- Teacher's role is dominant, active: child is a passive participant.
- Teacher is primary enforcer of external discipline.
- Individual and group instruction conforms to adult��s teaching style.
- Same-age grouping
- Most teaching done by teacher and collaboration is discouraged.
- Curriculum structured with little regard for child��s interests.
- Child is guided to concepts by teacher.
- Child usually given specific time for work.
- Instruction pace set by group norm or teacher.
- Errors corrected by teacher.
- Learning is reinforced externally by rewards, discouragements
- Few materials for sensory, concrete manipulation.
- Little emphasis on instruction or classroom maintenance.
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