- Children learn at their own pace and follow their own individual interests.
- Children teach themselves, using materials specially prepared for that purpose.
- Based on helping the natural development of the human being
- Uninterrupted work cycles
- Learning is based on the fact that physical exploration and cognition (what the hand does, the mind remembers) are linked.
- The teacher acts as a guide and works in collaboration with the children.
- The child’s individual development brings its own reward, following a child’s plane of development leads to motivation, interest and focus in a child.
- Understanding comes through the child’s own experiences when they use the materials and the promotion of children’s ability to find things out for themselves.
- Multi-age classrooms promotes peer learning.
- Working and learning is matched to the social development of the child.
One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.
The Montessori Learning Environment
Our aim is not merely to make children understand, and still less to force them to memorize, but so to touch their imagination as to enthuse them to their innermost core.
A Child Centered Prepared Environment:
The primary focus of a Montessori environment is learning based on a child’s interest and not a teacher’s teaching. The teacher presents individual lessons and small group lessons and the child carries work independently or with peers. The Montessori environment is a Responsive, Prepared, Adaptive and Environment designed solely for a child’s interests, abilities and potential and continues to be receptive to the children’s needs and evolving interests. Within a Montessori setting, children strive to realize their own potential, solve their own problems, and master their own skills at their own pace. The teacher creates and facilitates a sense of order, attractiveness and a joy of learning in this prepared environment. Encouraged to focus her attention on one particular quality, the child works at her own optimum level – in an environment where beauty and orderliness are emphasized and appreciated. A spontaneous love of “work” is revealed as the child is given the freedom (within boundaries) to make her own choices.
Everything in a Montessori classroom has a specific use or purpose. There is nothing in the prepared environment that the child cannot see or touch. All of the furniture and equipment is scaled down to the child’s size and is within easy reach.
A quality Montessori classroom has a busy, productive atmosphere where joy and respect abound. Within such an enriched environment, freedom, responsibility, and social and intellectual development spontaneously flourish!
Role of the Teacher:
In a Montessori environment the teacher is known as the Casa directress who directs the children and guides them in this prepared environment. Montessori teachers are trained facilitators in the classroom, always ready to assist and direct. Their purpose is to stimulate the child’s enthusiasm for learning and to guide it, without interfering with the child’s natural desire to teach himself/herself and become independent. Each child works through their individual cycle of activities, and learns to truly understand according to their own unique needs and capabilities. Children pass through sensitive periods of development early in life. Dr. Montessori described the child’s mind between the time of birth and six years of age as the “absorbent mind”. It is during this stage that a child has a tremendous ability to learn and assimilate from the world around him, without conscious effort. During this time, children are particularly receptive to certain external stimuli. A Montessori teacher recognizes and takes advantage of these highly perceptive stages through the introduction of materials and activities which are specially designed to stimulate the intellect.
The teacher is the resource to whom children may turn for help, in all areas of their development. The teacher responds empathetically to the children’s feelings and needs, while firmly establishing limits for the group. She is an observer who reflects, observes and plans for each child’s individualized progress. The teacher is essentially a link between the child and the environment. She is mindful of a child’s cognitive, social, physical and moral development.
Montessori Learning Activity
Montessori learning is all about Co-operation, Collaboration, Not Competition.
Children are encouraged to respect and support one another in their learning, and with their daily needs and experiences. Learning is a social process and children learn with and from each other to develop the social skills that form a class community. In the Montessori environment Movement with purpose and control is central to learning. Children learn by actively working with the concrete materials that lead to abstract concepts. The Montessori Prepared environment provides a setting in which children can explore, discover, and learn independently and with others. Children construct their own intelligence. Concentration and engagement are enhanced by choosing their own activities from a carefully prepared curriculum. Freedom is given and earned. Self-discipline develops from the freedom and responsibility to appropriately choose their own activity.