Dr. Maria Montessori developed this child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. Her method is time-tested with over 100 years of success in a diversity of cultures around the world.
This approach recognizes a child’s natural delight to learn, and teaches in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared environment. It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of all aspects of the child’s character—physical, social, emotional, and cognitive.
Hallmarks of Montessori
An authentic Montessori program include multiage groupings that foster peer learning, uninterrupted blocks of work time, and guided choice of work activity. In addition, a full complement of specially designed Montessori learning materials is meticulously arranged and available for use in an aesthetically pleasing environment.
The teacher, the child, and the environment create a learning triangle. The classroom is prepared by the teacher to encourage independence, freedom within limits, and a sense of order. The child, through individual choice, makes use of what the environment offers to develop himself, interacting with the teacher when support and/or guidance is needed.
Multiage groupings are a hallmark of the Montessori Method: younger children learn from older children; older children reinforce their learning by teaching concepts they have already mastered to younger children. This arrangement also mirrors the real world, where individuals work and socialize with people of all ages and dispositions to further their own knowledge.
Dr. Montessori observed that children experience sensitive periods, or windows of opportunity, as they grow. As their students develop, Montessori teachers match appropriate lessons and materials to these sensitive periods when learning is most naturally absorbed and internalized.
In early childhood, Montessori students learn through sensory-motor activities, working with materials that develop their cognitive powers through direct experience by catering to their senses – seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching, and movement.
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