The Montessori Method: Laying the Foundation for Lifelong Learning
1. Respect each child is unique
2. Maximize sensitive periods during development
3. First 6 years most critical
4. Allow children to teach themselves
The concept of teaching children in such a way that it develops the whole child is not a recent trend. In actuality, it’s a critical component to developing lifelong learning, and several teaching methods strive for this all-important holistic development. One example is the Montessori Method, developed by Italian physician Maria Montessori in the early 1900s. For over 100 years, educators have used the Montessori approach to foster a hands-on pathway to learning that promotes independence and a genuine love for discovery and exploration.
The Key Principles of the Montessori Method
Several principles serve as the foundation for the Montessori Method. The main guiding points are:
Respect for the Child
Every child is unique, which means each child has a different learning style that is part of what makes the child an individual. The Montessori Method recognizes and values this quality, respecting all children and their interests and needs.
Maximize Sensitive Periods
There are several different stages that children progress through during their development in which they are better able to grasp particular concepts and skills. Montessori dubs these stages as sensitive periods and focuses on setting up an environment that works in tandem with these phases. Children encounter hands-on experiences that help them maximize their learning potential during these specific stages.
Young Children Have Absorbent Minds
Montessori learning recognizes that a child’s first six years are some of the most critical in terms of development. These early years are when boys and girls start to understand themselves and the world around them, making connections that lead to in-depth learning opportunities. Therefore, in Montessori classrooms, you’ll find an environment designed to support and build children’s independence, confidence, and love of learning.
Provide a Prepared Environment for Learning
The Montessori principles are put into practice within a thoughtfully curated environment that encourages optimal learning. You can recognize a Montessori classroom by the low, open shelves, left to right display of materials in order of progression, and how children can move freely around the room.
The materials are sensory-based learning tools that isolate one specific concept and encourage hands-on learning, analytical thinking, and problem-solving. The environment also features defined areas for each primary Montessori curriculum component: practical life, sensorial, mathematics, language, and culture.
Allow Children to Teach Themselves
The set up of the Montessori environment encourages children to take the lead in their learning. This auto-education process allows children to choose what they will learn about while the teacher observes and offers guidance as their interests change. When children are allowed to choose, they become more engaged in a task, concentrating on it more fully for a more extended period.
Overall, the Montessori Method fosters concentration, a love of work and learning, encourages self-discipline and social awareness, and seeks to develop the whole child. It’s an educational style that promotes learning through play, which we certainly stand behind at Educating AMY. We carefully design our products to ensure they help children learn valuable concepts and skills as they progress through crucial developmental steps.