The Montessori Method

The Montessori approach to education recognizes the potential of the young child and attempts to develop this potential by means of a         “prepared environment” which utilizes extensively trained Montessori teachers and special teaching apparatus. The Montessori approach provides the vehicle whereby the child may attain inner discipline and control: the child becomes the intelligent, responsible master of themselves and our purpose is achieved. We recognize a child’s desire to learn and nurture curiosity. The Montessori Method clearly understands that children progress and learn at their own pace. Slow learners are not frustrated and quick learners are not held back. As challenges are met new ones are provided. The classroom environment is stocked with individualized materials carefully sequenced to allow each child to have concrete sensorial experiences and then progress toward abstraction through the manipulation of symbols at their own rate.

Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome, College of Physicians and Surgeons, began her work with children as a physician. In later years, she became an educator and an anthropologist. Through her observations and work with the children she discovered their remarkable, almost effortless, ability to absorb knowledge from their surroundings. Children teach themselves! This simple, profound truth inspired Dr. Montessori’s lifelong pursuit of educational reform, curriculum development, methodology, psychology, teaching and teacher training programs which are based on her dedication to further the self-creative process of the child.

Montessori vs. Conventional Classroom

Within the traditional school system, the child is introduced to a certain subject or idea collectively as a part of the group. In a Montessori classroom, the child is introduced to a particular activity on an individual basis. Even the brightest (especially the brightest) children often lose interest in group activities which do not constantly stimulate them. Their disinterest turns into restlessness and destructive activities. Likewise, the child who requires more individualized attention is often forgotten about in the conventional group seminar, which attempts to satisfy the group’s “average” needs. Since each child proceeds at their own pace, they are better able to enjoy their accomplishments without constant comparison. This attitude frees the children to like each other and be cooperative.

Another distinction between the conventional classroom and the Montessori classroom is the use of the ungraded (non-segmented) learning environment in the latter. With an age range, the children gain tremendous potential to learn from their peers as well as the prepared environment. Imitating older children is only one aspect of learning in a mixed age group. The older children in turn reinforce and clarify their knowledge when they teach younger ones while enhancing their self-esteem and confidence.

Montessori materials are designed to be self-correcting, which encourages independent problem solving and eliminates the correctional, disciplinary role of the traditional teacher. Teacher and student are fast friends with a healthy respect  for each other