What Is the Montessori Method?

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One of the main things that all parents stress about is their child’s education. Is public school okay? What about private school; can we afford it? Can I send my daughter to an all girls school, or should I just invest in a gun? Okay, maybe that last one isn’t really part of the thought process, but education still has a lot of questions surrounding it.

The education you choose for your child will shape the rest of his future, so it is not a decision to be taken lightly. The majority of parents debate between public and private school, and if private school cannot be budgeted in, they settle for something they may not necessarily want. One option that is often overlooked, however, is Montessori school.

Montessori is a school that educates children in a completely different way. Based on the ideas of Maria Montessori, the school has its own method and teachers are required to do extra training in the method in addition to their basic teaching credentials.

An Overview

The Montessori Method of education encompasses the philosophy of child development as well as the rationale that guides this growth. The philosophy is based on the two major developmental needs of children, which are:

• Their need to feel free within limits.

• Their need for a specially prepared environment that can guarantee exposure to different experiences and materials.

Meeting the developmental needs of the child helps him to gain intelligence as well as develop psychological and physical abilities. This method of education has been designed for taking complete advantage of children’s desire to learn. After many years of research and expression in different preschools, the Montessori philosophy is now being used in the way it was originally intended; as the method that sees children as they are, and helps foster environments that can fulfill their highest potential; whether physical, emotional, spiritual, or intellectual.

Who Is Maria Montessori?

Dr. Maria Montessori, the developer of the Montessori Method of education, was the very first woman to attend medical school and became the first female medicinal doctor in Italy. She worked actively with socially deprived and handicapped children, and developed the principles of the Montessori Method through study, experimentation and observation.

Goals of Montessori Education

The key purpose of the Montessori education technique is to provide a well-planned and stimulating environment that can help a child develop an outstanding foundation necessary for creative learning. The schools following the Montessori Method of education have specific goals which include:

To Develop a Confident Attitude Towards Learning: Under this method, all learning activities are individualized; that is each child is allowed to engage in something that appeals to them individually. In this way, a child will work at their own pace, repeating activities when they choose to, and build a positive outlook towards learning after experiencing a series of successes.

To Help the Child to Improve Their Self Confidence: All tasks are planned in such a way so as to build upon something that the child has mastered in the past. In this way, all negative experiences are eliminated, which helps in building the child’s overall confidence and self-esteem.

To Encourage the Child to Make Concentration a Habit: Effective learning brings with it an ability to attentively listen to what is being demonstrated or said. By undergoing lots of engrossing experiences, a child develops the habits of concentration and attention.

Benefits of the Montessori Method of Education

It was Maria Montessori’s vision that the educational system needed a reform. It was her goal to come up with a system that would encourage the complete development of each child. She made use of three primary principles; individual liberty, observation and preparing the environment.

Today, all parents want to leave their kids in an environment that can contribute to their social, emotional, as well as academic needs. Regardless of the education you want your child to receive, most parents can agree that these environmental needs take precedence.

Here are some of the benefits and characteristics of the Montessori Method of education:

• The method involves introducing children with three year age gaps into the same classroom, where older kids can teach the younger ones, as well as develop self-esteem and community skills.

• Use of self correcting material for teaching helps children to learn from their errors and discover the correct answers, instead of teachers pointing them out.

• The Montessori system recognizes that each child has an individual learning pace and encourages this growth.

• The Montessori Method emphasizes concrete learning instead of abstract learning so that children can experience all concepts in a ‘hands-on’ manner.

• This method believes in developing a child-centered environment which places all material within the child’s reach. The chairs and tables are small enough for kids to sit comfortably, with decorations and pictures placed at their eye level. Nearly everything is child-sized; from the bathrooms to the kitchenware.

• Children love to work on things just for the joy it gives them; not just because of what they will have when it’s done. This method encourages them to work for the interest they have in a task, not for the end result.

• The classroom environment is prepared in such a way that everything placed in it has a specific place, which encourages children to be orderly and helps them grow in a positive way.

• Teachers play an extremely unobtrusive role inside the classroom, where children are motivated by their need for development, not by teachers.

Today, the Montessori Method of education has gained a lot of recognition and is being used in various schools on all the continents of the world. This method is also known to be effective for children with developmental disabilities as well as in gifted and talented programs. The discoveries of Dr. Montessori are extremely valuable for all children as well as those working with children on any level.

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