Montessori Education

Montessori is a scientific method of education, a philosophy of child development, and an approach to children that helps them maximize their potential.

Dr. Maria Montessori, who lived from 1870 to 1952, was a brilliant and original educator. Her most important discovery was that children learn in a fundamentally different way than adults.

A child, for example, learns her native tongue by hearing and imitating. Anyone who has learned a second language as an adult can appreciate the enormously complex task. The young child, however, has an innate capacity to “absorb” language as well as other types of knowledge spontaneously.

When Dr. Montessori studied children’s innate capacity to absorb knowledge, she discovered that they learned best when they were free to work and play in a carefully prepared, nurturing environment.

In time Montessori went on to create schools where teachers and parents worked together to create prepared environments, where children worked with specially designed learning materials that optimized their potential. Today Montessori schools are recognized throughout the world for their superior and innovative approach to education.

The Prepared Environment

A Montessori classroom is a specially prepared learning environment designed to meet the developmental needs of young children and to appeal to their diverse learning styles. The Montessori environment is also prepared to foster independence, grace and courtesy and a sense of personal responsibility.

Each classroom is organized into 5 curriculum areas:preschool1

  • Activities for daily living

  • sensory education

  • language skills

  • math and

  • the cultural subjects, which encompass the arts and sciences.

 

Daily Living and Sensorimotor Skills

In the area of daily living children learn to care for themselves and take responsibility for the care of the classroom environment. Activities such as preparing a snack, learning how to button and tie their shoes, sweeping and cleaning up, foster confidence, independence and responsibility.

The Sensorial area features a wealth of materials and sensory experiences to stimulate and develop the sensorimotor skills so important to academic success.

Each Sensorial material is designed to focus on a single sensory skill to encourage concentration.

The Sensorial materials also incorporate a “control of error” which helps children identify and correct their errors, an invaluable skill for success in school.

Math and Language Skills

In the Math area, a specially designed set of curriculum materials, the Golden Bead apparatus leads the child into the world of arithmetic through activities with concrete materials. The children explore linear counting, the decimal system and arithmetic. Memorization of the Math tables and basic geometry are introduced in the kindergarten year.

The language area provides experiences in oral language, phonics, reading and writing. The 3 year old who is introduced to cover3the alphabet with sandpaper letters at 4 years old learns to spell three letter words with a movable alphabet.

Many children learn to read and write in their kindergarten year. Advanced students are given the opportunity to discover grammar and sentence analysis.

The Cultural Subjects

The cultural subjects area represents the culmination of all the skills the child has developed in the preschool years, the ability to concentrate and to enjoy learning about the greater world outside the classroom.

The Cultural Subjects area provides structured activities in the basics of geography, history, botany and scientific method, as well as the arts.

The children are encouraged to ask questions about the world and to research and document the answers.

The Montessori Teacher

The Montessori curriculum comes alive to the child when a link is established between the child and the prepared environment

Teacher Katie and School Director Ginger on Delivery Day
Teacher Katie and School Director Ginger on Delivery Day
of the classroom. The Montessori teacher or directress establishes this link.

Montessori teachers are required to meet more stringent standards for certification than teachers in other schools and daycare centers. These include 400 hours of academic work plus 540 hours of supervised in-classroom student teaching.

Montessori teachers facilitate a structured learning environment and foster an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect that frees the children to learn and grow to their highest potential. A Montessori teacher teaches children not only to be competent learners, but guides them to take their place one day as a caring, responsible and compassionate members of the community.

Matthew's Hope

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