What is Montessori?
The Montessori philosophy was developed by a lifetime of experience by Dr. Maria Montessori over 100 years ago. The Montessori method is strongly supported by educational and early childhood experts in meeting the intrinsic needs of children. Children developed through the Montessori method emerge as confident, independent individuals, with a strong sense of community and a lifelong love of learning. In an increasingly competitive world, the choice of an enriching educational program is significant, whether your child is in preschool, elementary, or middle school.
Montessori vs. Traditional
Traditional classrooms are made up of children born within one year of one another. In such an environment, your birthday is your destiny: if you are the youngest child in your class, you will always be the youngest. Children in Montessori classrooms are grouped in mixed ages and abilities in three-year spans: 3-6 and 6-9. Children who were once among the youngest in the class will, in two years, be among the oldest. As in a family, this allows children to try on different roles and to learn from one another, not just from the teacher. There is constant interaction, problem solving, child-to-child teaching, and socialization. Children are challenged according to their ability.
The Montessori teacher is constantly observing each child so as to prepare the environment for each one’s distinctive learning style and developmental plane. The teacher constantly modifies components of the environment to appeal to the child’s abilities and interests, which fosters the child’s intrinsic love of learning. This attention to the individual is balanced by the sense of community within the classroom, with younger children emulating older ones, and older children developing confidence as leaders in the classroom.
A Montessori classroom is always carefully prepared, from the arrangement of the classroom to the layout of the materials. The setting is appealing and nurturing, while promoting concentration and work. Montessori classrooms are designed for open movement to support exploration and interaction within a focused atmosphere. All materials teach specific concepts or skills through a hands-on experience with real world application and relevance. The environment promotes independence and is carefully organized to optimize each child’s learning experiences.
The classroom is designed around the areas of practical life, sensorial, math, cultural studies, language, and science. The Lower Elementary classroom extends these areas, as well as further incorporating art, music, computers, and physical education.
Montessori vs. Traditional
Specially prepared hands-on materials that are often self-correcting and control for error.
Textbooks and teacher-corrected pencil-and-paper worksheets.
Uninterrupted work cycles that allow the child to complete tasks before moving on to the next
Period lessons interrupted by bells
Teacher’s role as a “guide at the side.”
Teacher’s role is as a “sage on the stage.”
Environment and method encourage self-discipline.
Teacher acts as primary enforcer of discipline.
Mixed age grouping.
Same age grouping.
Grouping encourages children to teach and help each other.
Most teaching done by teacher.
Child discovers own concepts from self-teaching materials.
Child is guided to concepts by teacher.
Child sets own learning pace.
Instruction pace set by group norm.
Child chooses own work.
Curriculum structured for the child.