A few basic elements of the Montessori Method
- A Montessori Classroom is: A Child Centered Community.
- It has a strong emphasis on observation of the child. The environment is prepared, and choices are made, relative to the needs of each child that are gained by careful observation of that individual child.
- More focus on the needs and development of each child as an individual.
- Heavy emphasis on respect of all living things and non-living things that make up our world
- A heavy focus on observation of each individual child, as well as observation of the group as a whole
- The classroom environment is carefully prepared and maintained to provide the children with many opportunities for developmentally appropriate experiences.
- Many changes to the classroom are based on direct observations of the children that are currently in that classroom.
- This “Prepared Environment” is designed to facilitate maximum independent self-directed learning.
- Works toward the development of self – discipline (work skills and awareness of the rights and needs of all of the children in the space).
- A basic philosophy of “Follow the Child” – observations allows us to know the child’s interests, skills and the next information or skill we should introduce to the child.
Mixed age groups (usually a 2 – 3 year age span)
- Children learn from each other – younger (or novice) children learn by watching older children, older (or expert) children reinforce their knowledge by sharing with younger children. With this variety of children in the class, there are have many more opportunities for motor, social, emotional and cognitive growth. Current research is reflecting many of the benefits of a mixed-age-group classroom.
- Same teachers for 3 years – more in depth relationship building and greater knowledge of each child. In a Montessori classroom the daily schedule reflects the importance of routine – and allows the occasional break in routine to explore, or celebrate unplanned or discovered possibilities, to support an individual child’s interest, for deeper explorations, or enrichment possibilities.
- Parent Involvement is encouraged and a team approach is a strong part of our focus.
- Montessori schools usually do not take “drop- ins. which provides fewer disturbances, more consistency in their daily experiences, and allows for a more consistent group of children for deeper, and more secure social experiences.
- Focus on the children’s own personal responsibility – toward classmates, classroom, their work, and family.
- Social Skills are a focus; negotiation, social awareness and social skills are a part of every day.
- Teachers carefully model desired behaviors – with living things and classroom materials.
- A Montessori classroom is a calm, ordered space.
- A Montessori classroom offers a blend of freedom and discipline.
- Relationship between materials in the classroom and between different areas of the curriculum – one example being the (base 10 system)
- Building one experience upon another – careful planning, having a child for several years, and a spiral curriculumallows for deeper understanding of the concepts being presented over time.
- Children are given “lessons” — (Individualized or Differentiated Instruction) In the Montessori Curriculum a lesson is a “Gift to the Child”. A basic lesson is demonstrated by the teacher. This lesson gives the child some information from which to begin to explore the materials.
The 3 period lesson:
- 1st period – information given – as an example, this is red (just the main information is given)
- 2nd period – independent game playing and practice with the concept or skill
- 3rd period – collecting data – finding out where the child is through additional games – “Can you touch the red tablet to your nose?”
The time period between the 1st and the 3rd period of the lesson could be minutes or could be years depending on the child and the difficulty of the concept or skill being introduced. During this time the child explores and goes through a process of “making that information their own”
Work Cycle 3 steps
- The child makes a choice from many appropriate choices.
- The child explores the materials and in the process makes the learning they hold their own.
- Completing a work (to the child’s satisfaction) then returning the work to its place on the shelf.
Correct size and special purpose for each
Materials presented in a specific order, they are carefully designed to help the child master each skill or concept. As that skill is gained the child can easily succeed as they begin the next step. Individualized lessons make sure each child is ready before they move on to the next lesson. In this way each child is guaranteed more successes and deeper understanding of the material being presented.
Are very attractive – they invite activity
Each material isolates one aspect or quality
Many materials are self-correcting to help the child develop the skill of “knowing for themselves” instead of depending upon the outside world for feedback
Children are activity involved in what they learn. They are actively involved in the process of evaluating and recording the work they have done.
The Main Areas of the Curriculum
Building social, emotional, and self -regulatory skills
The Peace Curriculum uses modeling, children’s literature, and discussion to help children develop social understanding and self regulation skills. Helping the children understand why they should work with their teachers and classmates and helping them develop a variety of ways to calm themselves when upset is part of the Peace Curriculum. Class meetings are also used to help the children actively participate in successful problem solving and develop a responsible, optimistic, action oriented point of view.
- Skills of daily living
- Builds “I can do it myself” attitude
- Provided rest and relaxation as the child feels the need
- Develops concentration, coordination, a sense of order, and independence
- Care of self, care of environment, social, movement
- Builds important skills that allow growth and success in other areas
Development of the senses
Exploration of materials which allow the child to more fully understand the concept being explored examples:
- heavy / light
These fascinating materials draw the child to repeat the activity many times. This Repetition gives the child a deeper and more complete understanding of each concept being explored repetition and exploration both fit with current discoveries about brain development.
- Concrete to abstract small steps
- Careful order of presentations -care not to skip any steps
- Fun & confidence building – I can do it! Math is fun!
- The importance of literature and literature based experiences, enrichment and vocabulary building
- Strong phonics base
- Moveable alphabet- allows for making words before the child is physically able to write
- Gives the child a strong visual which helps the child see word families and patterns in words
- Is brought into all areas of the curriculum- and made real for the child
- The children LOVE to read
The Cultural Topics
Montessori Classrooms support the children as they explore all areas of study. Art, Music, Science, Large and Small Motor Skills are included in the curriculum. In addition to these more traditional areas, other areas are also explored. Due to Preschool children’s heightened language development, interest, and ease in learning about their world; our curriculum includes the Physical Sciences, Geography, Botany, Gardening, Zoology and a strong emphasis on maps and History.
Full day Montessori also incorporates all areas of play and socialization.
Including: free play, blocks dramatic and imaginative play, home toys, etc.
Awareness of and work on foundational skills through the prepared environment and as the child plays.