“Education should no longer be mostly imparting of knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentialities.” Maria Montessori
Montessori education builds a child’s capability to become a fulfilled and productive adult able to contribute to the world—at home, at work, and in their community. Maria Montessori’s observation of human development from birth to adulthood led to an education approach that supports children’s natural development, providing the skills and support to reach their full potential in life. With a strong emotional, behavioural, and moral foundation, children become motivated, active, and independent learners who are prepared for the real world.
The Absorbent Mind
The Montessori Philosophy is based on the principle that all children are intrinsically motivated to learn and that they possess an ‘Absorbent Mind’. The first phase of the absorbent mind period is from birth to three years and is the most informative time in a child’s development.
During this first phase, the young child unknowingly and unconsciously acquires their basic abilities. Dr Montessori called it the period of unconscious creation or the unconscious absorbent mind.
They absorb knowledge without effort from their environment when provided with the right kinds of activities at the right time in their development. A very high level of learning, both conscious and unconscious, can come at ease to all children irrespective of their age and/or ability.
During the second phase, called the period of conscious work, the conscious absorbent mind compels them to perfect what is already there. A fundamental task during this phase is freedom to move purposely. Freedom to choose and freedom to concentrate.
The sensitive periods are critical for self-development, as each child unconsciously knows that the time to learn a specific skill is now. The child’s intensity reflects a need for that particular acquisition in order to thrive.therefore the Montessori method, the curriculum is tailored to the child’s development to ensure that concepts and skills are introduced at a time when the child is most sensitive to them.
However, once the period passes, if the skill has not been acquired a child will have to learn the skill with much more difficulty at a subsequent time.
The Montessori environment
Montessori educational environments are carefully prepared for child-centered learning which supports children’s development and aids in their personal independence,considering the principals outlined by Dr. Maria Montessorisuch as Freedom, Order ,Beauty, Reality, Social environment andIntellectual Environment.
Tables and chairs are sized for the children who will be using them, and they are made of natural materials whenever possible. Shelves that hold materials are low enough that children are able to easily access their work.
The materials on the shelves are typically arranged into particular areas.
- Practical Life
This is the area through which your child will practice self-care, as well as care for the space and others. From cleaning up spills to watering the plants to learning how to tie a bow, the practical life area helps children become independent with daily tasks.
These materials allow children to practice developing and discerning their senses. There are materials that help children not only recognize differences in size, shape, smell, sound, and more, but also to really refine their senses and appreciate the beauty of the world around them.
This one is self-explanatory, although the materials your preschooler uses to learn basic math skills are a far cry from what many of us experienced as children!
Children at this age are learning basic letter sounds, how to form the letters, basic grammar concepts, and so much more.
In a Montessori classroom, the cultural studies refer to history, geography, botany, geometry zoology and science.
With the intention of focusing the attention and sparkling the interest of children towards learning material the environments are kept simple and painted in light pastel colours.
Also the materials are arranged neatly on the shelves according to an order. This helps the Children to understand that they must return a material to the same spot from which they retrieved it. This sense of order and organization again allows the children to focus their efforts on the work.
Vertical grouping/ different age groups
The Montessori classroom includes multi-age groupings – this enables children of different ages to interact with each other, support each and learn from each other. While the little ones look up to the older ones to learn new things, the older ones learn to foster patience and compassion towards the younger ones. With these interactions Montessori classrooms foster the values of interdependence,collaborationand coexistence.
Trained Montessori Adult
The trained adult guides the children along this journey, helping them become well-adapted individuals, ready to take a positive, pro-social place in their world.Her role is that of a guide, a witness, and a caretaker of the environment.
As the classroom is organised around the needs of the children, the adult is specially trained to become keen observers of children, so she understand the developmental needs of the child.
The Individualizingof the teaching helps children gain confidence in their learning progression.