About the Montessori Method
The Montessori Method is the result of the experiences and discoveries of
Dr. Maria Montessori (1870–1952). Maria Montessori observed that a child has
an “absorbent mind,” especially between the ages of three and six. She believed children should stay within a single classroom for three years to fully develop their conscious awareness of their whole selves. The older children mentor the younger children in the classroom. This boosts their confidence and emotional well-being while reinforcing what they already know.
The Montessori classroom uses concrete materials that are self-correcting and allow children to learn at their own pace. These materials help the child to see, touch, feel and freely explore their environments without the teacher’s intervention. The Montessori teacher provides individual instruction within set guidelines. The children learn self respect, respect for others and respect for their environment. Montessori methods and materials promote inner discipline and self-motivation.
The main focus of a Montessori teacher is to guide each child by providing a well-prepared environment. This environment fosters the creativity and the curiosity of the child and also bolsters the child’s self-esteem. The child is able to learn independently and with the help of his peers and teacher. Children receiving Montessori instruction excel academically and socially and gain the confidence they need to reach their fullest potential.
What are some of the faults of traditional education as viewed by Montessori? To name a few: restriction of child’s activity, suppression of his spontaneity, use of external rewards and punishments, frequent interruptions, verbal “pouring-in” approach and inadequate teacher training. Says Montessori: “The educational methods now in use proceed on lines exactly the reverse of ours.”
The goal of both Montessori and traditional schools are the same: to provide learning experiences for the child. The biggest differences lie in the kinds of learning experiences each school provides and the methods they use to accomplish this goal. Montessori educators believe both differences are important because they help shape what children learn, their work patterns and their future attitudes toward themselves and the world around them.