Dr. Maria Montessori based her educational methods on scientific observation of children’s learning processes. At Bee House Montessori Day Care, children progress at their own pace, choosing materials from a wide variety of possibilities. By selecting activities according to their natural interest, children experience the joy of learning.
The Montessori Method emphasizes learning through all five senses. Care and attention is given to creating a learning environment that reinforces children’s independence and intellectual development. Children work in multi-aged groups where children share their knowledge and abilities, strengthening their sense of community.
Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator. Born in 1870, she developed her method of education over a 45-year period of directly observing and working with children. Her lifelong study of the child's mind revealed its unique ability to absorb perceptions and knowledge. The child’s sensitivity to the environment is the basis for the Montessori Method, which places a great deal of emphasis on preparing an environment where the child can follow and fulfill their inner needs through concrete experiences.
Respect is given to the individuality of the child and so each pupil is given responsible freedom to manifest their inner needs and unique personalities. As success builds upon success, the child gains an inner discipline and the security of a strong self-image. Social interaction, guided by the "collective interest" of the multi-age classroom, adds to his joy and growth.
Dr. Montessori recognized that the most valid and effective incentive to learn comes from the child’s own intrinsic motivation. The child is naturally drawn towards learning as he/she tries to create order and sense out of the impressions he/she absorbs from the world around him/her. Slowly but surely, he/she will gain mastery of himself and his environment. The Montessori prepared environment possesses a definite order and structure which facilitates this process.
The structure of the Montessori learning environment involves the use of many materials with which the child may work independently. These materials were scientifically developed by Dr. Montessori, each with a distinct purposes and defining characteristics. Children can explore and manipulate the materials with their own hands, and through the senses acquire information and knowledge.
In the Montessori classroom, children work at their own pace and at their own level of development, in a non-competitive atmosphere where the child is free to choose their own material to work on and is therefore inherently interested in what they are doing. That same interest allows the child to enjoy the process, instilling in them a love of learning.
Elements of the Montessori Approach to Teaching
Montessori is both a philosophy of child development and a method of applying the philosophy in an educational setting to guide a child’s growth. The Montessori classrooms at all levels are dynamic communities of learners and teachers. Some basic premises of Montessori for all age levels include:
A Responsive, Prepared, Student-Centered Environment
Children are to be respected as unique individuals, different from adults, but not less important or valued as members of the community. The child possesses an unusual sensitivity and intellectual ability to learn from their environment.
The focus of activity in our Montessori classroom setting is on the child’s experience within the environment, and not on the teacher’s teaching.
Our environment is designed to meet the needs, interests, and abilities of the children within the class. Teachers adapt the environment through modifying the selection of educational materials available, the physical layout and equipment in the classroom, and shifting the tone of the class to fit the ever-changing needs of the children. Generally students work individually or in small self-selected groups.
In the classroom there are three stages of learning a new concept or lesson:
This is usually occurs by means of exploration within the classroom, observing another child at work, a conversation, reading something in a book, etc.
The child develops an understanding of the concept through working with materials that illustrate the ideas, provide opportunity for exploration and experimentation, and provide opportunity for repetition of an activity.
The child is confidently able to explain the concept and teach the concept to another person.
Introduction to a concept
Processing the concept
Mastering the concept
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