What is Montessori education?
Montessori education was created at the beginning of the 20th century to be put into practice with children. It was specially designed for those who had certain difficulties in acquiring curricular learning.
This educational style aims to promote the natural development of students’ skills. It enhances their abilities through self-direction, exploration, discovery, practice, collaboration, play, deep concentration, imagination, or communication.
What is the Montessori method of teaching?
The Montessori teaching method:
The Montessori method is characterized by providing a prepared environment. The one that is ordered, aesthetic, simple, and real. It is where each element has its reason for being in the development of children.
Children work with scientifically designed concrete materials that provide the keys to exploring the world and developing basic cognitive skills.
The adult is an observer and a guide; helps and encourages the child in all his endeavors. It allows you to act, wants, and think for yourself. It helps you to develop confidence and inner discipline.
Montessori education covers all educational periods from birth to age 18 providing an integrated curriculum.
The Montessori environment:
The Montessori environment is a spacious and open place. It is orderly, aesthetic, simple, and real. There each element has its reason for being in the child’s development. The environment is provided tailored to the children.
There are low shelves and different sizes of tables and chairs where children sit individually or in groups. Each child uses the material they choose by taking it off the shelf and putting it back so it can be used by others.
The integrated rooms favor spontaneous cooperation, the desire to learn, mutual respect, and the deep incorporation of knowledge through the exercise of teaching others.
The development of the child arises from the need to adapt to his environment. The child needs to make sense of the world around him and builds himself with that world.
Montessori teachers observed that the child passes from infancy to adulthood through 4 evolutionary periods are called “Planes of development”. Each period presents radically different characteristics from the others.
But constitutes the foundations of the succeeding period. Thus “as the caterpillar and the butterfly are very different in their appearance and their manifestations. Yet the beauty of the butterfly is a consequence of its life in the state of a caterpillar. It cannot come from the imitation of the example of another butterfly. To build the future, it is necessary to watch over the present.
The first phase of development begins with birth to age 6, is characterized by the child’s absorbing mind. It takes or absorbs all aspects, good and bad, of the surrounding environment, language and culture.
In the background, from 6 to 12 years old, the child has a reasoning mind, to explore the world with his imagination and abstract thinking. In the third plane, from 12 to 18 years old, the adolescent has a humanistic mind eager to understand humanity and the contribution that he can make to society. In the last plane of development, from 18 to 24 years old, the adult explores the world with a specialist mind, appropriating his place in it.
The Montessori materials were scientifically designed in an experimental context within the classroom. Its purpose was to pay special attention to the interest of children according to their developmental stage. Also with the conviction that the manipulation of concrete objects helps the development of knowledge and abstract thinking.
They allow repetition, which promotes concentration. They have the quality of isolating difficulties. That is, each one introduces a single variable, a single new concept, isolating it and leaving the other concepts unchanged.
The materials have error control. It is the same material that you will show the child if they used it correctly. In this way, children know that error is part of the learning process. They manage to establish a positive attitude towards it. They take responsibility for their learning and develop self-confidence.
The Montessori teacher, called a guide, observes each child, his needs, abilities, and interests and offers him opportunities for intelligent work. It is with a specific purpose in the service of caring for himself and the small community that is the classroom.
The Montessori guide does not impart rewards or punishments, satisfaction is internal and arises from the child’s work.
When the child, according to his evolutionary development, is ready for a lesson, the guide introduces the use of new materials and presents activities individually or in small groups. In the later years, each child makes a list of goals at the beginning of the week.
Then they manage his time during the week to meet them. It is not the guide but the child himself who is responsible for his learning and development.
Here an explanation of the Montessori Curriculum will justify the question, what is Montessori education.
From birth to 3 years:
During the first three years of a child’s life, the foundations for their future development are laid. During which it realizes in the psychological sphere what the embryo has already done in the physical sphere.
This process is achieved, thanks to the “absorbing mind” of the child that incorporates experiences, relationships, emotions, images, language, culture, through their senses. Also by the simple fact of living.
These life experiences shape your brain. Form neural networks that have the potential to stay with the person their entire life. At this stage from birth to 3 years, Montessori education focuses on the development of speech, coordinated movement, and independence. It gives the child self-confidence.
What are the five principles of the Montessori method?
Montessori method principles:
We understand Montessori education as a lifestyle, a style of being, and of walking towards childhood. A way of acting based on respect, trust, and love towards children and their potentialities. For the entire Montessori team, our educational work is based on the following pillars:
We understand learning as the achievement of experiences developed and acquired in the environment through the implementation of the senses.
The first six years of life are the most important for the development of man, specifically the first three, therefore, we intend to accompany the education of children from birth.
As the main objective of education we understand the development of human potentialities. The development of innate psychic powers in the human being.
- We take into account that all children, from their birth, have an innate potential destined to consolidate knowledge.
- For this, their environment and the stimuli that are provided have to be as enriching as possible.
- Therefore, for us, the child is not an empty being who owes us everything he knows.
- We are not knowledge builders but construction collaborators.
The Montessori method’s main notion is to focus on the learning of the child. Respect for the natural development of each individual is promoted. Working integrally all their aptitudes with the help of the environment that surrounds them.
The study becomes something more individualized. Each one creates their learning based on tastes and skills. It is varying from traditional methods that standardize education. The role of teachers is to provide the necessary tools for learning, creating a suitable environment for learning.
In this article, you can see the 5 basic principles of the Montessori summarized method. These will explain more explicitly the question, what is Montessori education.
Principles of the Montessori method are explained below:
1) Respect for children:
Teachers must show respect for children. When the child makes decisions for himself, he develops skills that will contribute to his autonomy and self-esteem. The child is capable of knowing without the help of the adult. This is a principle that the adult must be very clear about.
2) The absorbing mind of the child:
Teachers believe that children can educate themselves. The child learns just by living. For this reason, he can learn everything from his environment. Children were born to learn. They are learning systems because they are thoughtful.
Montessori level compares the child to a sponge that absorbs everything. It has the uniqueness that makes the child’s capacity unlimited. For these reasons, the first period of human development is understood to be the most important.
3) Sensitive classes:
One of the main roles of the teacher is to observe and detect the moments where there is more sensitivity to make the most of the child’s potential. They are the best guid and trainer within the class.
4) The prepared environment:
It refers to an environment that has been carefully organized for the child. It has been designed to encourage self-learning and growth. In this, the social, emotional, and intellectual aspects are developed and they respond to the needs of order and security. The characteristics of this prepared environment allow the child to develop without the constant assistance and supervision of an adult.
5) The Role of the Adult:
The role of the adult in Montessori Philosophy is to guide the child and introduce him to the environment respectfully and lovingly.
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