The Montessori education is a method of education which is focused on fostering a hands-on, self-paced, collaborative and a child-cantered learning.
It takes the view that children are naturally eager to learn, and are capable of absorbing a tremendous amount of knowledge through experiences in their environment.
In Montessori classrooms children make creative choices in their learning, while the classroom and the teacher offer age-appropriate activities to guide the process.
Children work in groups and individually to discover and explore knowledge of the world and to develop their maximum potential.
Every material in a Montessori classroom is design to supports an aspect of child development.
Montessori education create a match between the child’s natural interests and the available activities.
Children can learn through their own experience and at their own pace.
They can respond at any moment to the natural curiosities that exist in all humans and build a solid foundation for life-long learning.
Montessori education can also support the learning of children from birth to middle school.
How Montessori Education Started
A woman by name Maria Montessori was the first female Doctor to graduate from the University of Rome.
She first became world renowned for her work in children’s education after developing a set of educational principles that followed the natural development of the child.
From her earliest experiences of working with children, Montessori came to develop theories about the development of the child, and how they learned.
She then applied these theories in an educational setting, and observed how children reacted when provided with different stimulus.
Especially relevant to Montessori’s observations, was how keenly children absorbed information from their environment.
She discovered that given developmentally appropriate materials, and the freedom to follow their interests, that children would teach themselves.
Crucial to Montessori’s ideas, was a child-centred approach to education that was hands on, experience based, and followed the needs of the child.
Montessori took more than 50 years to refined her observations and theories and form the principles and practices of what is today known as the Montessori education.
The First Montessori School
Maria Montessori established her first school in 1907, she name the school ‘Casa dei Bambini,’ also known as the ‘Children’s House’.
This name emphasised that children were the centre of the school, and that following the lead of the child, was paramount.
The Montessori school was a special environment for children.
Students were free to choose their work, follow their own interests, and move freely from one activity to the next.
The role of the teacher within this space was to “follow the child,” and carefully guide them based on skilled observation.
Within several years, the success of the Montessori Method was well renowned in Italy, and soon spread overseas.
Today, there are more than 20,000 Montessori schools world wide that continue Maria Montessori’s legacy.
As a result of her work, Maria Montessori is recognised as a pioneer of children’s education and human rights.
She is credited with several important discoveries, including identifying the importance of the first six years of life, and sensitive periods for learning.
In addition, she also discovered the important link between children’s emotional development, and their ability to learn at an optimal rate.
Benefit of Montessori Education
Choosing a Montessori environment for your child has many benefits.
Take a look at few of these benefits below:
Each child is valued as a unique individual.
Montessori education recognizes that children learn in different ways, and accommodates all learning styles. Students are free to learn at their own pace, each advancing as he is ready, guided by the teacher and an individualized learning plan.
Montessori nurtures order, concentration, and independence.
Intentional classroom design, materials, and daily routines support the student’s emerging “self-regulation” (the ability to educate one’s self, and to think about what one is learning), in toddlers through adolescents.
Students are part of a close, caring community.
The multi-age classroom—typically spanning 3 years—re-creates a family structure. Older students enjoy stature as mentors and role models; younger children feel supported and gain confidence about the challenges ahead. Teachers model respect, loving kindness, and a peaceful conflict resolution.
Montessori students enjoy freedom within limits.
Working within parameters set by their teachers and the classroom community, students are active participants in deciding what their focus of learning will be.
Students are supported in becoming active seekers of knowledge.
Teachers provide environments where students have the freedom and the tools to pursue answers to their own questions. Internal satisfaction drives the child’s curiosity and interest and results in joyous learning that is sustainable over a lifetime.
Self-correction and self-assessment are an integral part of the Montessori classroom approach.
As they mature, students learn to look critically at their work, and become adept at recognizing, correcting, and learning from their errors.
Montessori supports social-emotional skills.
Contemporary research supports the 100-year-old Montessori Method’s effectiveness, indicating that children who learn in Montessori classrooms demonstrate stronger social-emotional skills in many areas than children in more traditional environments.
While Montessori education cannot be forced on anyone, it provides a great philosophical blueprint for anyone to follow to become more curious innovators.
It teaches a process that is fundamental to innovation: that we must take action and start building things by taking small, achievable steps toward making our ideas happen.
When we are following a deep sense of self-directed experimentation and inquisitiveness this leads us to create new things that may have value to society.