Montessori is a method of education developed by the 1st female doctor in Italy, Dr Maria Montessori. This method of education has been practiced worldwide for over 100 years.
How does Montessori differ from other forms of education?
Montessori differs in 4 major ways:
Our environments are not separated into single age groups. We have what’s called ‘Vertical age grouping’. This means that children are grouped together in 1 shared environment in 3 year age cycles. E.g. 0 – 3 years, 3 – 6 years, 6 – 9 years, etc.
The children use ‘Didactic materials’ developed by Dr Montessori. Many of these activities have a built in control of error where the child can see for themselves if they have made a mistake. Although some activities require assistance from a qualified Montessori Directress, these didactic materials ultimately enable the child to learn on their own.
We work mainly individually with each child as opposed to in groups. By doing this we can meet each child at their individual level and this is why we can bring in the vertical age grouping. The children therefore also have the freedom within a very structured environment to choose work that has been presented to them before, thereby learning through repetition.
The educator is referred to as a Directress , not a teacher as we direct the child towards work that will benefit them during a particular time in their development. We facilitate the learning process as the child teaches themselves.
What are the principles of Montessori?
Working with the ‘Absorbent Mind’, being the child from birth to 6 years, having a mind that absorbs more knowledge from its environment than it will ever again.
Supporting the various ‘Sensitive Periods’ that a child experiences. This is a block of time where the child is extremely interested in a certain aspect of life (E.g. Language, attention to detail, repetition, etc.) to the exclusion of anything else that’s irrelevant.
We recognize the importance of repetition, whereby the child can work in a ‘Prepared Environment’ that supports their inner need for perfection.
Huge emphasis is placed on ‘Inner discipline’ which is encouraged by the children being part of an environment, where they need to be responsible for their actions and respect others and their property. We aim to produce adults that can fit into society and are respectful of others and themselves!
Which children will benefit from the Montessori Method?
All children will benefit as it is not exclusive to any group, regardless of their level of development or background.
How are Montessori children integrated into mainstream schooling?
Montessori children integrate very well into mainstream schooling as they have an excellent foundation. The children have the advantage of having been exposed to letters, numbers, etc. while in their sensitive periods. Montessori children therefore generally go into mainstream schools a step ahead and continue achieving through out their school career.