More About Montessori

What is a Montessori?

Are you trying to decide if the Montessori method is right for your preschooler, and for you?  If you are unclear about how Montessori schools differ from other preschools and day-care facilities, read on for an eye opening overview.  This calm, encouraging, and respectful approach to teaching young children will give you new hope about what you can do to help ensure your child’s lifelong success before he or she enters Primary 1, Reception or Grade 1.

Dr. Maria Montessori was an education pioneer a century ago.  She achieved levels of academic success for developmentally disabled children and previously overlooked children from lower socio-economic groups that had not been considered possible.  Montessori’s approach was based on the simple concept of tailoring education to children’s natural tendencies instead of imposing rules of the adult world on them.  Montessori observed that children are extraordinarily curious and physical, and she sought to reward these attributes instead of condemning them.

HOW TLH IS DIFFERENT

Montessori teachers believe that if a child is properly guided to enjoy learning up to age six, he not only becomes at ease with himself and his surroundings, but also continues to be confident and curious throughout the school years.  A great myth surrounding the Montessori method is that it is unusually strict or boring or is based on bizarre principles, when in fact the method demonstrates that the simplest and most natural principles of all will lead to the most happy and well-adjusted young students.

Rather than completely unstructured play or a totally controlled environment with a teacher and silent, listening students, Montessori schools strike a balance in which children are the most comfortable. In a Montessori classroom, children are less frustrated than in other schools because everything is accessible to them.  Tables and chairs are constructed for preschoolers, and all of their games and projects are placed in open shelves at their eye level.  Their classrooms are highly organized so that children can feel comfortable knowing where everything belongs.  Much of the usual frustration and confusion of living in an adult world is eliminated in this way so that the children can concentrate on learning.

To build independence and confidence, children are not forced to participate in activities that do not interest them.  They are however gently coaxed to try new adventures.  While one child may be very interested in sorting and stringing beads, another might be much happier looking at books or painting.  With fewer struggles for control between the students and teachers, the children have fewer reasons to act out, and become proud of their accomplishments instead of ashamed of what they could not do well.

Far from being an unsupervised free-for-all, a Montessori education is well rounded, including not only maths, art, and geography, but also housework and social skills.  Children will be guided to clean up their own messes with child-sized tools, and learn the powerful effect of polite phrases like “please,” “thank-you,” and “excuse me.

When conflict occurs between students, they are taught that anger is a natural emotion, and they are guided to learn the words to express their feelings instead of being afraid of them or resorting to physical violence.  Students are expected to put each project away before they chose another, so that other children may find it easily.  In the Montessori method then, children are closely supervised, but treated with respect.  In turn, the students are respectful and busy, uninterrupted by the usual frustrations and power struggles.

The learning tools themselves are ideal for the preschool and kindergarten age groups because they are all interactive with the children’s senses.  Instead of having to grasp mathematical or language concepts with their minds alone, these children are presented with different sized blocks to line up and letters made of sandpaper.  This physical interaction with their surroundings keeps the children interested, and delivers information in a form that they are naturally programmed to consume.  Imagine a child outdoors digging in the dirt, grabbing at leaves, and jumping down the sidewalk.  This is the kind of activity a Montessori classroom combines with academics so that children consume knowledge like candy.

Do not be discouraged by the lofty ideals, thinking that these must be expensive private schools.  Montessori is only a method of teaching that any preschool can employ, so there are always Montessori schools at all levels of tuition costs.  Teachers also go through intensive and ongoing training in the method, so parents can be confident that these are professionals who are passionate about nurturing their children.  Still, quality care depends on the individual, so be sure to visit a few schools before you choose one.  A good Montessori school will have a calm and busy atmosphere.  You should not hear teachers shouting or see any bored or outcast children in the corners.  Decide if a Montessori school is right for your family by visiting one today.  You are guaranteed to be welcome to tour their classrooms.  Montessori schools care for your family, and for your child’s future.  (Taken from e-commerce)

Other sites you may want to visit:
www.montessori-namta.org                          www.montessori.org.uk