Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Real Needs of the Child?
Montessori attitudes and philosophy are most consistent with the needs of a child in the process of developing and learning. Montessori’s educational theories are based on the way a child develops naturally and are then correlated for use as an educational system consistent with these laws.
Is it Child Centered?
Dr. Montessori believed that no human being is educated by another person. People teach themselves. A truly educated individual continues learning long after the hours and years spent in a classroom because he or she is motivated from within by natural CURIOSITY and love for KNOWLEDGE. She felt therefore, that the goal of early education should not be to fill children with facts from a pre-selected course of studies, but rather to cultivate their own natural desire to learn. Her experiments made the child the center of education; her program is adapted to the interests and needs of children. As a result, children concentrate with enthusiasm and achieve a real and profound understanding of their work. This intellectual progress is accompanied by emotional growth. The children become harmonioous in movement, independent in work, and honest and helpful with one another.
What are Phases of Growth?
Dr. Montessori discovered, and recent educational research has verified successive phases of growth with characteristic sensitivities which guide physical and mental development. These phases of growth, she called “sensitive periods”. They are outwardly recognizable by an intense interest which the child shows for certain sensorial and abstract experiences. Dr. Montessori discovered that the guiding sensitivities constitute needs in the child which demand fulfillment and are universal to all children. Thus, the validity of Dr. Montessori’s observations have remained constant since she began her task of the “Discovery of the Child”.
What is the Role of the Teacher?
The function of the teacher in a Montessori classroom differs considerably from that of the traditional teacher, hence Dr. Montessori used the term “Directress” or Guide”. S/he he brings children into contact with the world in which they live and the tools by which they learn to cope with the world. S/he is, first of all, a very keen observer of he individual interests and needs of each child; the daily plan proceeds from observations rahter than from a prepared curriculum. S/he demonstrates the correct use of materials as they are individually chosen by the children, carefully watches the progress and keeps a record of each child’s work. Individual children’s total development as well as their progress toward self-discipline is carefully guided by the guide, who prepares the environment, directs the activities, and offers each child enticement and stimulation. The mutual respect of the student and the teacher-guide is the most important factor in this process.
What is the Ungraded Classroom?
The greatest possibility for flexibility in permitting individual lessons and progress, while still retaining groups sessions, at no-expense to the individual child exists in the Montessori enrvironment. The use of individual materials permits a varied pace that accomodates many levels of ability in the classroom. If the classroom equipment is to be challenging enough to provoke a learning response, it must be properly matched to the sensitivities of each child. The most satisfying choice can usually be made only by the children themselves. The Montessori classroom offers children the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of graded materials. The child can grow as their interests lead from one level of complexity to another. They work in a group composed of individuals of various ages, abilities, cultures and interests and are not required to follow anyone else’s program…it permits the younger children a graded series of models for imitation, and the older ones an opportunity to reinforce their own knowledge by helping the younger ones, hence, they add to the group as they receive from it what they need.
What is the Montessori Method?
Montessori is a philosophy and method of education which emphasizes the potential of the young child and which develops this potential by utilizing specially trained teachers and special teaching materials.
Montessori recognizes in children a natural curiousity and desire to learn; the Montessori Materials awaken this desire and channel that curiosity into a learning experience which children enjoy. Montessori Materials help children to understand what they learn by associating an abstract concept with a concrete sensorial experience; in this manner, the Montessori child is actually learning and not just memorizing. The Montessori Method stresses that children learn and progress at their own pace so that fast learners are not held back, and slow learners are not frustrated by their ability to keep up.
What is Montessori Apparatus?
The Montessori classroom offers 500 unique educational didactic (self-teaching) materials which are manipulated by the children in the classroom. They accomodate many levels of ability. They are not “teaching aids” in the traditional sense, because their goal is not the external one of teaching children skills or imparting knowledge through “correct usage”. Rather, the goal is an internal one of aiding the child’s mental development and self-construction. They aid this growth by providing stimuli that captures the child’s attention and initiates a process of concentration. Children then use the apparatus to develop co-ordination, attention to details, and good work habits. When the environment offers materials that polarize childrren….the teacher or guide is then able to give the freedom needed for healthy development.
Why Should You Send Your Child to a Montessori School?
Montessori is education…not a nursery school. The best time to start your child’s education is during the early years…2 1/2 to 3 years when most of a child’s intelligence and social characteristics are formed. 50% of the child’s mental development occurs before 4 years of age. In a Montessori School, your child will learn to think in logical patterns and to deal with reality. Children with a Montessori background become better prepared to cope with the complex challenges of tomorrow’s world.
What does Montessori Offer My Child?
Montessori allows children to experience the excitement of learning by their own choice. Dr. Montessori observed that it was easier for a child to learn a particular skill during the corresponding “sensitive period” than at any other time in life. These are periods of intense fascination for learning a particular skill. Montessori allows children te freedom to select individual activities which correspond to their own periods of interest and readiness and to progress at their own pace. A child who acquires the basic skills of reading and mathematics in the natural way has the advantage of beginning education without drudgery, boredom, or discouragement.