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The Montessori Method

Dr Maria Montessori (1870-1952), a scientist, educator and philospher, initially devised a method to teach ‘mentally disabled children’ and achieved successful results when these children passed an exam together with normal children.  She was not impressed with her accomplishment. Instead, she wondered what was wrong with the schools who gave such examinations if she could help such disabled children achieve the same educational standard as normal children with just two years of her improvised teaching methods. She then spent the next twenty years working with young ordinary children and observed how they learn and finally devised the Montessori Method.

The Montessori Method emphasizes on preparing the most natural and life supporting environment for the child, observing the child living freely in this environment, continually adapting the environment in order that the child may fulfill his/her greatest potential -- physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  When physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional needs are met, children glow with excitement and a drive to play and work with enthusiasm, to learn, and to create.  They exhibit a desire to teach, help, and care for others and for their environment.  The Montessori Method of education is a model, which serves the needs of children of all levels of mental and physical ability as they live and learn in a natural, mixed-age group, which is very much like the society they will live in as adults.  (See how a mixed-age group benefits your child in our FAQ page)

 

The Montessori Approach

The Montessori Approach draws its principles from the natural development of the child.  Its flexibility provides a matrix within which each individual child's inner directives freely guide the child towards wholesome growth.

The Montessori Classroom provides a prepared environment where children are free to respond to their natural tendency to work.   The children's innate passion for learning is encouraged by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities with the guidance of a trained adult(directress).   There are 5 main groups of activities:

bulletPractical Life Exercises include many of the tasks children see as part of the daily life in their home: washing and ironing, doing the dishes, arranging flowers, etc.  They learn to work at a task from beginning to end, and develop their will, their self-discipline, their confidence and their capacity for total concentration.
bulletSensorial materials are tools for a child’s natural development.  Children build cognitive efficacy by touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, listening, and exploring the physical properties of their environment through the mediation of specially designed materials.  These materials have built-in feedback to show when errors have been made, allowing the child to be independent of an adult's oversight, and develops an inner motivation to practise and improve.
bulletA sound language foundation is vital.  The Montessori environment provides rich and precise language, using phonics and sandpaper letters to teach children how to read and write.
bulletMathematics materials help the child learn and understand mathematical concepts by working with concrete materials such as beads and number rods.
bulletCultural extensions are presented as extensions of the sensorial and language activities.

Through their work, the children develop concentration and joyful self-discipline.  Within a framework of order, the children progress at their own pace and rhythm, according to their individual capabilities, and thus develop self-assurance and contentment in their work.  This is the foundation for lifelong learning.

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Last modified:  02 April 2013