WHY
MONTESSORI?

1. It was scientifically developed

  • The Montessori method was developed by Dr Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator. The method has been supported by a vast amount of research over the last few decades and is unlike the traditional education where learning occurs one-way through teacher-directed activities

2. It has been tried and tested

  • The method and has been used in many schools all over the world for over a century.

3. Child-centered approach instills a love of learning.

  • Montessori education focuses on child-led explorations rather than through teacher-directed activities in traditional education. The Montessori curriculum builds on the way children naturally learn and instills a love of learning in their hearts. The classroom and curriculum are designed to allow children to explore and learn at their own pace, with the teachers as their guide.

4. The curriculum focuses on hands-on learning

  • In a Montessori classroom, children learn by practicing tasks rather than through listening and having to remember.

5. The classroom environment teaches order and self-discipline.

  • New concepts and skills are introduced to children from simple to complex using beautiful, enticing and scientifically prepared materials as learning equipment.
  • Each and every material has their own place in the classroom. When children are finished with an activity, they are taught to place them back to their proper places.
  • Ground rules are established and routines are set in class for children to follow such as:

    • Walking instead of running inside the classroom
    • Saying ‘thank you’, ‘please’, ‘sorry’, and ‘excuse me’
    • Washing of hands and praying before eating
    • Using ‘inside voice’ and not shouting inside the classroom
    • Being gentle with friends
    • Tidying up and cleaning after themselves

6. It promotes independence, self-esteem, and responsibility.

  • The Montessori classroom is a prepared environment that promotes independence. The child-sized furniture and learning materials allow children to “do it themselves” without help from an adult, which gives them a sense of accomplishment, pride and a boost in self-esteem.
  • Simple activities that enhance independence include:

    • Putting on and taking off their own shoes
    • Washing their hands
    • Throwing trash in the trash can
    • Eating by themselves
    • Taking a material from the shelves and putting it back when they’re done

  • A Montessori environment indirectly trains a child to take responsibility. Activities that build independence give children more opportunities to assume responsibility. The level of responsibility a child is expected to achieve depends on the child’s age and ability. For young toddlers, the first stage of responsibility starts with learning how to take care of themselves. This is accomplished by performing Practical Life Exercises such as learning to button and unbutton, fold and unfold, tie and untie, wearing their own shoes, eating by themselves, washing their hands, wiping their nose, etc. Not only do these activities help refine fine motor skills and improve concentration, but it also helps children to become more independent and allows them to be responsible for their own well-being.

7.It encourages cooperation, collaboration, and leadership skills to flourish

  • New concepts and skills are introduced to children from simple to complex using beautiful, enticing and scientifically prepared materials as learning equipment.

Five Montessori Subject Areas:

Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, Cultural Studies
represented by Kinder Friends.

PRACTICAL LIFE EXERCISES

  • This learning area focuses on encouraging independence, teaching self-care, developing motor skills, coordination, and control of movement, helps in learning of routines and reaching an order, and at the same time trains memory, logic, concentration, will and patience.
  • Preparation for Writing
    Children are given many opportunities to practice their pincer grip to strengthen their thumb, index, and middle finger through activities such as spooning, transferring, cutting, and pegging. This muscular activity prepares children for writing as they get used to the muscular impression of using their three fingers. Activities are also done from top to bottom and right to left, which teaches them the order in which they should read and write.
  • Care of self
    Children learn how to take care of their personal hygiene and grooming in their daily lives. Activities include lessons on how to use the bathroom, blow their nose, brush their teeth, how to button and unbutton, zip and unzip, put on and take off their shoes, etc.
  • Care of the environment
    Children learn about their role in taking care of the world around them. This includes lessons on how to open and close windows, turn taps on and off, clean using a feather duster, sweep, polish a shoe, water the plants and feed the pets, to name a few.
  • Grace and Courtesy
    Children demonstrate good manners as they learn to be polite when asking for help or attention, and saying “please”, “thank you”, “sorry”, “excuse me” at the proper times. Children learn about table manners and how to socialize with friends and at the same time practice to share and take turns.

SENSORIAL STUDIES

  • Children learn to observe, compare, match, and make decisions.

  • Concepts will be explored through the sense of hearing, sight, smell, touch and taste to provide a deeper understanding.

  • Lessons that are implemented will prepare children for new mathematical concepts through visual discrimination of height, size, colors, textures, patterns and sequences.
  • Arts are integrated into the daily classroom activities and lesson extensions to stimulate the senses and pique the creative interest of the children Arts and music appreciation will also be introduced to children as they discover different types of expression and creativity.

LANGUAGE

  • The Montessori early childhood classroom is rich in oral language opportunities – listening to stories or reciting poems, singing and conversing with others. Introduction of the Montessori sandpaper letters connects each spoken sound with its symbol, supporting the development of writing, and eventually, reading. Language is developed through phonics lessons and activities such as music & movement, games, storytelling, and role play.

  • Language development includes activities that develop:

    • Listening skills
    • Communication skills (e.g. expressing one’s feelings and opinions, giving feedback and responding to feedback, taking turns when talking).
    • Verbal skills (e.g. speaking in full sentences, pronunciation of words).
    • Vocabulary
    • Reading skills
    • Writing skills

  • The purpose of the Language area is to enrich the child’s vocabulary and to provide the child with tools to communicate with others in the community. After having a diverse bank of vocabulary, sounds are gradually introduced to the children which are followed by the symbols that are associated with the sounds. New vocabulary will be learned through a variety of Montessori materials and individual as well as group activities.
  • Language development is supported by a number of activities that stimulate communication skills and vocabulary development. There is a broad range of materials for reading readiness, phonetic analysis as well as fine motor control.
  • The fullest array of exercises, materials, and activities in language make it possible for the children to learn to write and then to read what they have written, so that often they cannot even remember when or how they learned these skills.
  • Every aspect of the Montessori classroom draws forth language development, and specific materials and exercises refine and extend vocabulary, exhibit grammatical principles and properties, enrich vocabulary, and tune the ear to the beauty, rhythm, and song of the language.
  • A natural progression towards reading and writing will occur through hands-on learning, instead of one-way instruction.
  • Reading readiness skills will be developed as children recognize and differentiate sounds, letters, letter combinations and words.

MATHEMATICS

  • Mathematical concepts are introduced from concrete to abstract through hands on individual and group work.
  • Children use manipulative materials to assist in concrete visualization new Math concepts and processes.
  • Children are taught to count, recognize numbers, understand early Geometry and the decimal system, and perform simple math operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division).
  • Children learn about quantities and symbols along with their corresponding names.

CULTURAL STUDIES

  • All concepts introduced are linked to Cosmic Education where children learn to have a global view of life, and recognize the interdependence of all living things.
  • Cultural studies include these subject areas: Zoology, Botany, Geography, Ecology, History, Science and Astronomy.
  • Cultural studies bring the outside world alive to the child as they discover the world they live in.
    Note: When children are encouraged to attune with nature in ways applicable to their daily life, they become perceptive and sensitive to feeling nature beyond the visual, and can truly connect to, and love, their world and place in that world.

  • Global awareness is developed through lessons on landforms, continents, oceans, flags and cultures.
    Note: Children begin to think beyond their own community to the wider world as they develop global awareness which enables them to understand, respect and appreciate differences in the people around them.

  • We encourage children to become good global citizens by helping them understand their role in the world and how they can make a positive difference.
  • A variety of nature exploration activities are done through outdoor play, nature observations and experiments.
    Note: Interacting with nature provides opportunities for rich sensorial experiences, a vital element of Montessori learning. It also supports the whole child—body, mind and soul—and promotes respect for all living things.

  • Children learn about time and its significance in our daily lives.

FAQ About Montessori

What is Montessori? What are its most important characteristics and features?

Montessori is a child-based educational philosophy. Some of the main characteristics of a Montessori program are that it:
– Encourages independence of the child
– Allows the child to work at his/her own pace
– Encourages the child to explore his/her interests
– Allows for free movement in the classroom
– Supports the growth of the whole child including his/her personality and teaches peace.

How does Montessori teach peace education and why is it important?

The Montessori curriculum has components that teaches peace education through:
cultural studies about the five continents and about peoples of the world, provide a global view of life and humanity’s part in it, multi-age grouping which allows for opportunities for children to learn to resolve conflicts, children are taught to learn to respect classroom materials, plants, pets and other people.

How is a Montessori program different from other preschool programs?

A Montessori program is different from other preschool programs in many ways. Some of the most important differences are:
– Montessori allows children to choose their own work and work at their own pace.
– Montessori programs also include subject areas such as sensorial and practical life that might not be included in other programs.
– Montessori programs also use mixed age classrooms, so a preschool classroom includes children ages 3-6 years old.
– Montessori offers a curriculum that allows the child to explore more than a normal school program. For example, in a regular preschool curriculum teaches children the numerals 1-100. In Montessori, a child is able to explore, learn and understand numbers and quantities up to 9999.

Why do Montessori classes group different age levels together?

The multi-aged classroom provides a wonderful opportunity for younger children to learn from older children. It also provides motivation for them because they can see what they might soon achieve (for example a three-year old watches a five-year old read). For older children it provides an opportunity to teach and help younger children. This teaches compassion and reinforces academic concepts. They also have the opportunity to be a mentor to the younger ones and exercise their leadership skills.

Why does Montessori put so much stress on freedom and independence?

Montessori stresses freedom and independence because it is most important for character building and prepares them for life as adults. Every day we make many, many decisions which are part of being free and independent. Allowing this to happen in the classroom gives children the opportunity to practice to be able to make good decisions in their later years.

What is meant by ‘freedom to work’?

In a regular preschool, the teacher decides what the child has to do in a certain time frame. However, children in a Montessori program are allowed to pick what work to do and when to do it. This allows children to take advantage of their motivation and advance at what interests them the most. Learning happens at a much faster rate than if it was imposed.

Why don’t Montessori schools give out homework?

Montessori schools don’t give out homework because learning is a joyful and free process for the children. Sending homework would make their learning obligatory which interferes with the child’s freedom of choosing what to work on and when.

What student report format do teachers use to report student performance to parents?

A progress report is used to show student performance to parents. This report is specific to the observations the teacher has made of the child. The reports usually show what work the child has been doing, the level they have achieved and also comments on the child’s interests, sensitive areas and social interactions.

Is Montessori good for gifted children? What about children with special learning needs?

Montessori is good for both gifted children and children with special learning needs. Because the classroom is set up for children to work at their own pace, children of all learning abilities are able to advance in the different subject areas according to their interest and needs. The learning materials available provide concrete support for children to gain a deep understanding of the subject matter. These materials are especially useful for children with special learning needs.

How do Montessori children adjust to traditional schools?

Montessori children learn important skills such as decision-making, time-management and independence. These skills help them when adjusting to traditional schools. During the transition it is important for parents and teachers to work together to support the child with any difficulties he/she may experience. Most children are able to adjust successfully to a traditional school – children are smart and resilient, they adapt quickly to their immediate environment.

What additional activities can be included during the students’ last year in to better prepare them for their entry to a non- Montessori primary school with specific reference to Mathematics?

Helpful additional activities before moving into a non-Montessori primary school include more abstract work (paper work without materials). In the math area, students can begin to practice solving simple equations using the addition and subtraction charts and then use only pencil and paper to solve equations as well. This helps them transition from doing math concretely with materials to abstractly as done in traditional schools.

How well does Montessori children do later in life?

Montessori children are well prepared for life academically, emotionally and socially. Through experience with Montessori, children learn independence, responsibility, listening skills, the ability to adapt and respect. Many organizations have conducted research showing that Montessorieducated children score higher on standardized tests and indicators such as responsibility, turning work in on time and creativeness. Some organizations that have done such studies are: NAMTA (North American Montessori Teachers’ Association), AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) and Montessori Northwest Research and Publications.

It seems that the Montessori materials don’t allow children to be creative and there is little opportunity for pretend play. Please explain.

Dr. Montessori famously said “Play is the child’s work.” Montessori called children’s play “work” to value the important processes that occur when a child plays. Montessori’s intention in using the materials is to unite work and play together – allowing children to interact with and manipulate the materials as play. Montessori encouraged teachers to focus on reality with preschoolers who are not yet prepared to think abstractly. Pretend play does occur naturally in the classroom, but within an environment of real materials. Children pretend to be chefs while preparing real food with real dishes or pretend to be scientists while carrying out a real experiment.

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