The Montessori Method
Following the Montessori philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori, the Montessori Method builds on her observations that education during the formative years is absolutely crucial to a child’s development and future success.
The Montessori method of education lays its foundation on the principle that education during the formative years, aided by an absorbent mind and sensitive periods, is absolutely crucial to a child’s development and future success. Dr. Montessori suggested the creation of a specially prepared environment offering child-size furniture and manipulative, hand-held objects to help children learn through their senses. All classroom items are richly textured and aesthetically pleasing and children are encouraged to be observant of their surroundings. Through interactions with their environment and each other, children learn about their world and about themselves.
Montessori philosophy also promoted the creation of an environment that not only respects the child’s drive for movement, but harnesses it and uses it to aid academic learning. In traditional classrooms, movement is discouraged, but the Montessori environment helps foster careful and controlled movement. Purposeful movement in the classroom helps the child develop self-discipline and self-control. When movement is part of the learning activity, children are focused and engaged, which results in deeper understanding.
Montessori stands apart from traditional education by allowing students to develop a meaningful degree of independence and self-discipline. Activities are designed to be self-correcting, which reduces the need for teacher correction. Children are able to learn from their own mistakes, which help them develop self-confidence, independence, and self-reliance.
A Montessori approach to education in the pre-school years (2 to 6 yrs. Old), prepares children to be engaged and active participants in their own education.
5 Key Learning Areas of a Montessori Classroom
Practical Life is the foundation for all future Montessori work. It encompasses domestic work maintained in the home and classroom environment; self-care and personal hygiene; and grace and courtesy. Young children in Montessori classrooms learn to take care of themselves and their environment through activities such as hand washing, dusting, and transferring. These activities help toddlers and preschool age children learn work independently, develop concentration, and prepare for later work with reading and math.
Sensorial materials are designed to allow the child to learn through their five senses. Materials incorporate touch, smell, sight, hearing and taste. Sensorial material indirectly prepares the child for future Math work, including the Decimal System. Children use concrete materials to learn differences in shape, colour, size and dimension. Materials include: Pink Tower, Brown Stair, Knob Cylinders and Geometric Solids.
The Culture area includes Science, Geography, History, Zoology and Botany. Through hands on exercises the children explore the world. Materials such as Puzzle Maps, Classification of Animals and Nature Inset Puzzles can be found on the Cultural shelf.
Children begin learning the Sandpaper Numbers from one to nine in order to identify the numbers by sight and their stereognostic sense. Once the children can correctly identify the numbers both in and out of sequence they will move to more challenging concepts such as association of number and quantity, addition, multiplication, subtraction and division. Math materials include: Sandpaper Numbers, Spindle Boxes, Number and Counters and the Golden Beads.
Children are in the sensitive period of language and are able to absorb both written and spoken language the easiest in this stage. The children will use Sandpaper Letters in order to learn phonetic sounds and letters. Once the child can successfully name a majority of sounds they will be able to sound out three letter phonetic words. In time, when the child has mastered all twenty six sounds they will begin reading. Materials in the Language Area include the Sandpaper Letters, Metal Insets, and Pink, Blue and Green Scheme boxes and cards.