What is Montessori?
The Montessori Method teaching philosophy was first developed by European doctor, Maria Montessori. The foundation of the philosophy is that every child develops at their own individual pace and level. While developing, all children deserve to be treated with respect and provided with choices and interesting alternatives with which to develop their learning potentials. Below, find some basic concepts and ideas closely followed within the Montessori Method of teaching and at Montessori Children’s Garden.
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The Montessori classroom is child-centered versus teacher-led.
The teacher's role in the Montessori classroom is to provide the environment, rich in opportunities, for the child. The teacher then follows the child as they engage in the many materials in the classroom. With guidance from the teacher, the child makes choices throughout the day and develops their own self-discipline in order to become a more independent learner. The child is an active participant in the learning process and may be observed working independently or in small groups.
The use of manipulative materials is very important in the Montessori classroom.
The Montessori Method was built upon allowing children to discover questions and find the answers themselves. This process enhances the development of their cognitive and problem solving skills. In the classroom, new concepts are introduced using concrete materials. The child learns by doing. As the child masters the concept, they progress to practicing that skill in a more abstract way.
The Montessori classroom highlights the social interaction between the different age groups.
The classroom facilitates several age groups working together at one time. For example, in the 3 to 6 year old classroom, the older children act as role models for the younger children and develop a sense of responsibility and leadership. Younger children have opportunities to progress at their level due to the many layers of academic materials throughout the areas of the classroom. Children develop a sense of others in a small community of children learning from each other.
The Montessori Method, out of respect for the individual child, provides education on real-life experiences and responsibilities.
Children are offered many opportunities to successfully develop their own independence. It is common for a 3-year-old child to go through the process of obtaining a snack for herself. She may need to wait until one of the three chairs at the snack table is open, but she will then gather the correct number of apple wedges and crackers. After carrying her plate and napkin to the snack table, she will pour herself a glass of water from the child-sized pitcher. She enjoys her snack with one or two other children. After finishing her snack, she clears her dishes and cleans up her spot for the next child. The child has been taught the individual steps to the process of getting her own snack, as well as the responsibility for cleaning up after she is finished so that the next person is allowed the same opportunity. All of this occurs with little intervention from the Montessori teacher.
The daily routine of each child relies heavily on each child’s own individual interests and choices.
Each child is encouraged to delve deep into subjects he or she finds interesting. Teachers also closely supervise to ensure that, over an extended period, each child is exposed to all essential areas of the classroom curriculum. When a teacher observes that a child is ready for a new concept, they will invite them to work together to guide them through an initial introduction. The child is then allowed to work through the material with observation from the teacher. Often the child will find answers to their own questions as the teacher allows the child the satisfaction of discovering on their own.
A typical Montessori program thrives and depends on parent involvement and support.
It is very important that parents understand the experiences that their child goes through each day, in addition to the philosophy and teaching behind those experiences. An open channel of communication between teachers and parents is critical to the success of any Montessori program. In addition to regular communication between families and staff, parents are offered a variety of opportunities to volunteer at MCG, from holiday parties, to special events to field trip chaperones. All help to strengthen the triangle of support between the parents, teachers and children at MCG.