The Montessori Method, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early part of the 20th century, laid the ground work for an educational system that has been adopted world wide.
Montessori education accommodates the level of ability of each child. After presenting the appropriate learning materials to the children at lessons, the teacher assesses the academic needs of each student by carefully observing their performance with the materials and other assignments. Therefore, each child moves along according to his/her ability in all areas of the curriculum, which allows for mastery of all subject matter presented.
Maria Montessori recognized that children have sensitive periods, times during their development when they are the most sensitive and open for learning a particular subject matter. The different areas of the classroom are structured with these needs in mind. For example, in the preschool years it is very important that children develop proper coordination in their hands and wrist to prepare them for writing. That is one of the purposes of the practical life and sensorial areas of the curriculum.
In the Montessori classroom the child is the center of attention, not the teacher. The teacher assumes the role of a guide in the child’s development, introducing lessons and facilitating the child’s progress, helping the child to maximize his/her potential.
The child is his/her own teacher and has freedom to choose much of his/her own work and goals within the structure of the curriculum. Students are responsible for a minimum amount of work and respect for others is expected and enforced.
Because each child is allowed to advance at his/her own rate, you may witness children advancing at different rates in different areas of the curriculum. It is common for children to be more advanced in some areas compared to others. Within the Montessori classroom this is not a problem. Montessori education accommodates whatever level a child is at in every subject matter studied.
Dr. Maria Montessori developed her method through careful observation of children. She noted that learning is enhanced through the use of attractive, multi-sensory materials (materials that utilize two or more senses while isolating a single attribute, such as color or texture). Our children experience different textures, different sounds, different shades of color, and different shapes in many of the materials presented.
Classroom materials flow in a logical sequence to ensure a full and proper understanding of the subject matter. Our students are comfortable and confident with new work and higher concepts as they are introduced. A lesson in geography may also involve mathematics and history, a feature of Montessori education that assists with more thorough learning.
Self-correcting materials allow a child to see for himself if he has obtained a correct answer, freeing the teacher to introduce more work to other children. Being able to correct one’s own answers promotes independence because the child sees that he can do it himself. Independence leads to confidence, which is so essential for the development of self-esteem and goal directed action.