The Montessori Method of education was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori over 100 years ago. Dr. Montessori, the first woman doctor in Rome, created the method through scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood.
The Montessori Method is a holistic approach to education that views the child as strong and capable, eager to learn, and capable of initiating learning through a carefully prepared environment. The Montessori approach values the development of the whole child- physical, social, emotional, and cognitive.
Hallmarks of Montessori
Multiage groupings are an important component of an authentic Montessori environment, and children typically loop with their teacher for three years at a time. This arrangement mirrors the real world where individuals interact with people of all ages. This framework also allows teachers an opportunity to truly get to know the children and gives children the chance to get to know their teachers and peers very deeply.
Children are given long, uninterrupted blocks of time to work in a carefully prepared classroom environment. A full complement of specially designed Montessori learning materials is meticulously arranged and introduced by a teacher, or guide, who is trained specifically to present the Montessori lessons. These materials are very “hands-on” and allow the child to physically experience and engage in the learning process. In Montessori, practically any concept is first learned through the hand before it is abstracted in the mind. The materials are sensorial in nature, and allow for children to develop an understanding through many senses- seeing, hearing, feeling- so that all learning styles are optimally fostered.
The teacher, child, and classroom environment are all valued in an authentic Montessori environment. The classroom is prepared by the teacher to encourage independence, freedom within limits, and a sense of order. Children are able to move freely and work at an individual pace. Because so much of the learning takes place through working with the environment and the classroom environment, it is not necessary for all of the children to be doing the same thing at the same time. While an excellent Montessori teacher is imperative to an authentic Montessori environment, it is also true that children master concepts through their work with the materials. It is also not uncommon for children to learn from one another. Younger children learn from older children; older children further master concepts and strategies by teaching the lessons they have already learned.
An authentic Montessori environment is also a classroom for peace. Children are appreciated as unique individuals who have a voice and can make a positive difference in the world.
The Montessori Method is based on the value of observation. We invite you to come and witness our Montessori environments for yourself. You will see the difference; an authentic Montessori Classroom is a place for children to naturally and joyfully thrive to their fullest capacity. We invite you as an observer in our classrooms.