The Montessori method of education is based on the ideology that children have a natural desire to learn, and that the role of the adults is to provide support, nurturing and guidance while children discover the world and their place in it. Over 100 years ago, Dr. Maria Montessori created the Montessori philosophy after spending years of her life observing children and watching them learn. Montessori education stands out from traditional methods of education in that it does more than prepare students for academic success, but also focuses on promoting life skills while developing social and emotional skills. The longevity of this philosophy stems from the fact Montessori education is geared to satisfy children’s natural developmental needs, making its relevance timeless.
Children can be joyful learners when they are allowed to learn for the sake of learning rather than for praise or fear of punishment. In Montessori education the focus is on student-centered learning, meaning children share in decision-making about what they learn and how they learn it. Maria Montessori emphasized that it is imperative for parents and educators to provide an environment that understands the needs of the child to aid in both physical and psychological development. Children learn better through movement and children in a Montessori classroom are allowed to move in a purposeful way that preserves acquired knowledge.
A Montessori classroom is very different than anything that would be seen in a traditional classroom. The multi-age classrooms promote peer teaching and learning and provide a personalized curriculum for each child. A child’s curiosity is nurtured rather than restricted. Each activity, or “work,” is made to teach more than one lesson, and once children are given a lesson, they are able to choose whichever works they want and use them as long as they want. Concentration is never interrupted as concentration is the basis of all learning. All this freedom in a Montessori classroom is balanced with responsibility. Children are responsible for taking care of their classroom. All students contribute to the classroom through chores and jobs which gives a child a sense of responsibility, encourages independence, and teaches them how to operate within a community.
Montessori classrooms develop well-rounded children. The classroom is a peaceful place where children are respected, and the child’s needs are being met on multiple levels. Children are challenged at a rate that is appropriate for the individual, and growth is never a measure of comparison between children. The Montessori method of education has withstood the test of time for one simple and powerful reason: it works.
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