All About The Montessori Way
There are popular misconceptions about the Montessori Philosophy: that the Montessori learning environment is highly academic, strict, and controlled. And, because children often whisper, they aren't freely encouraged to verbalize or express themselves and their speaking skills are hindered. Many also think that a Montessori school is simply a Private School with a Daycare!
What Montessori Education Really Is
Look closer and you'll discover what the true, original Montessori Philosophy is really about. It’s about giving children freedom to explore over 600 specially designed materials in an orderly way, so that they become confident and independent. It’s about letting curious young minds learn by handling, experimenting and doing all this in a safe and nurturing environment so their fullest potential can be extracted, and so they feel a sense of achievement. And perhaps most importantly, the Montessori Way is about laying a strong foundation of confidence, discipline, awareness of self and others, responsibility, courtesy, and a positive attitude towards new challenges in a simple and practical way, during the earliest stages of a toddler’s life. Fast forward a few years into their future, and these ingrained qualities pave the way for great academics and being role-model citizens. This is why the Montessori Method has worked so well for more than 100 years.
A Totally Different Classroom Environment
So, what's different about Montessori schools? What might they look like? Well, imagine this classroom setting: children as young as 18 months calmly take their own child-sized activities from low shelves and cupboards by themselves, and return everything they use to its correct place. They know where everything is and hardly ever need to ask a teacher. Others are caring for themselves and their environment by using a broom to sweep the floor after lunch time, or learning to tie a bow or button up. All furniture, objects, and apparatus are child-sized so that they are fun and fit perfectly in children's little hands. Some are spontaneously washing up or caring for plants, while others are passing scissors safely or handling and carefully using glass cups. In another corner, more cute faces are using droppers and chopsticks to transfer pasta or beans from one bowl to another and even preparing their own food. Listen closely and you'll notice it's pretty quiet because problem solving is done by the little ones. Many activities contain an inbuilt factor which allows them to discover and correct their own mistakes without asking a teacher. Impressed yet? Who knew that children at such a young age are capable of doing all these things by themselves? With so much focus, awareness, respect, courtesy and confidence, too! Welcome to the Montessori classroom.
And, A Totally Different Teaching Approach
First off, Montessori teachers aren't actually called 'teachers.' They're called 'Directresses' because they sensitively guide, direct and reinforce skills and children's activities so that little ones learn to judge right and wrong by themselves. It's about children-led learning and Directresses following suit. This contrasts with the more traditional teaching methods which control or 'tell' children what to do and how to do something, and then reprimanding them if they do not follow the instructions. Many know this as teacher-led learning. Montessori Directresses don't impose knowledge in this way. Instead, they connect children with materials and let them form their own knowledge through experimenting. Their overall goal is for children to store what they learn in their heads and their hearts, rather than simply in their heads. This is how children cultivate their inner, moral guiding principles that will remain and guide them for the rest of their lives.
The Montessori Curriculum
We'd like to say that the Montessori Curriculum covers pretty much everything ... and, it really does. Take a look at how well-rounded it is!
- Practice Life (zippers, buttons, spooning, cleaning, my oh my! Talk about concentration, independence and life skills!)
- Sensorial (refine each of the senses and dexterity thanks to specially designed Montessori materials)
- Language (phonics, reading, writing, even grammar and sentence structure)
- Math (counting, decimals, arithmetic, multiplication, division, and even basic geometry)
- Culture (including Arts, Sciences, Geography, History, Being Outdoors and learning Social Skills)
There's just too much to write about the Montessori Philosophy. If you'd like more details or have questions, explore our Casa and Toddler Schedules below, visit our FAQs page or research it further when time allows. We welcome research-aholics!