About Dr. Maria Montessori
Dr. Maria Montessori devoted her life to the observation and study of children and peace. From these observation, she concluded that learning is most effective when children are allowed to learn in their own way and at their own pace.
Dr. Montessori discovered that children from birth to age six are capable of absorbing information from their environment with much less effort than later in life. She felt that it was important to prepare an environment tailored to the many aspects of a child’s development. She developed a curriculum and didactic materials focusing on math, language, sensory exploration, art, music, and practical life skills. Abstract ideas are introduced as a hands-on exploration. Gradually this leads the child to a self-discovery of the concept.
Lessons are given individually on isolated aspects of an abstract idea that children put together on their own to form a cohesive whole. In this way each learned skill or lesson becomes a building block for the next, helping the child to experience success.
Some of the key Montessori principles:
Living in a mixed-age community of 2 1/2 - 6 year olds, guided by Grace and Courtesy lessons, regularly practicing conflict resolution, and the modeling and encouragement of respectful adults, allows children daily opportunities to practice positive social interactions.
Clarity and wisdom within the Montessori materials comes alive for children through repeated manipulation. The repetition then leads to a deep understanding and appreciation of key intellectual and developmental concepts. This joyful approach to all materials in the prepared environment invites children to fully participate in every aspect of their work, resulting in deep satisfaction and fulfillment.
Guide (Montessori term for teacher)
The Guide observes each child and connects him/her to work that addresses his/her own developmental needs. The Guide prepares a classroom environment and establishes a routine that supports each child’s independence.
Grace and Courtesy
Through formal lessons and continuous modeling by adults, children learn to wait, politely interrupt, respect other’s work space, use “indoor” voices in the classroom, use proper table manners, playground etiquette etc.
Freedom of movement
Children are free to move around the room at will. They may choose where to work: at a table or at a work rug. They may not disturb the work of others in the pursuit of their movement.
Freedom of choice
Children are free to choose their work. After the teacher presents a lesson, children are free to choose that work at any time. Children are directed to use the materials carefully, with respect for their intended purpose.
Dr. Montessori believed that the only true discipline is inner-discipline. She described discipline as primarily indirect. Children learn self-control by egging in rationally organized, calm, quiet, spontaneous work. The role of the adult is to model and facilitate.
Every child undergoes a unique developmental process. Through careful observation, a teacher can see the child reveal when he/she is ready for new information and experiences. A Montessori guide anticipates those needs and responds accordingly.
Progressing at child’s own pace
Children are given the gift of time - to focus, learn calmly and take as long as they need to understand why something does or does not work. Self-correcting materials are designed to let children develop patience and logical thinking skills.