Dr. Maria Montessori discovered a good deal about the nature of the learning process in young children. She came to believe that every child delights in spontaneous activity directed toward intellectual discovery. A carefully prepared environment in a Montessori classroom nourishes and encourages a child’s natural development. Attitudes and confidence developed during these formative years will serve them throughout their lifetime. For a confident child, new activities are not only a challenge but also a delight. A child is most apt to retain a positive attitude toward learning and acquire confidence in a relaxed atmosphere where they set their own pace, follow their own interests, and are freed of criticism and competition.
For a confident child, new activities are not only a challenge but also a delight.
The following are some basic Montessori concepts:
- The small child is a lover of work-spontaneously chosen and carried out with profound joy.
- The child needs to learn by doing. At each stage in a child’s mental growth, corresponding physical occupations are provided by means of which they develop and refine their movements.
- Based on a profound respect for the child’s personality, there is room to grow in biological independence. The child is allowed a large measure of liberty (not license), which forms the basis of true self-discipline. This is a higher discipline, which originates within the child as they gain practice making their own decisions and exercising their own will. It is not a discipline, which is imposed from without and based on rewards and punishments.
- Since the children are freed from competition and they do not work for praise or rewards, learning becomes its own true reward, and the sharing of learning naturally follows. Children help each other and learn from each other; they do not compete against each other. This results in a positive social community within the classroom.
- Finally, the Montessori method develops the whole personality of the child, not merely their intellectual faculties, but also their powers of deliberation, initiative, creativity, and independent choice. The children are helped on both the emotional and intellectual levels to gain skills, confidence, and awareness in order that they will become the mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy and happy adults they are meant to be.
The main curriculum areas in a Montessori classroom are Practical Life (self-help), Sensorial, Cosmic (science and geography), Language, and Math. All areas are interconnected and carefully sequenced, building each new skill on earlier success.
The main goals for the children are that they achieve “normalization” (a self-reliant maturity), a love of learning, and a reverence for life.
The instructor is not so much a teacher as an observer and preparer. Helping each child solve the “problem of the match” is her/his main function. The children’s natural love of repetition and order are respected. The main goals for the children are that they achieve “normalization” (a self-reliant maturity), a love of learning, and a reverence for life.
The materials are kept in perfect condition and carefully displayed on low shelves. They are self-correcting so the child can truly be his/her own teacher.
Suggested video for Primary Parents:
Suggested Reading list for Primary Parents:
Building Cathedrals Not Walls: Essays for Parents and Teachers by Maren Schmidt, M.Ed.
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
Montessori Madness: A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education by Trevor Eissler
Parenting with Love & Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility by Foster Cline & Jim Fay
Understanding Montessori by Maren Schmidt, M.Ed.
The Absorbent Mind by Dr. Maria Montessori
Secret of Childhood by Dr. Maria Montessori
The Montessori Method by Dr. Maria Montessori
Children – The Challenge by Rudolf Driekurs
Positive Discipline – The Preschool Years by Jane Nelson
Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self Indulgent World by Jane Nelson