” I have studied the child. I have taken what the child has given me and expressed it and that is what is called the Montessori Method. “ ~ Doctor Maria Montessori ~
The cornerstone of the Montessori Method is that children are to be respected for their uniqueness. There never has been and there never will be another child exactly like your child. It stands to reason, then, that your child won’t learn in exactly the same way and at exactly the same pace as other children. The Modern Montessori Method is designed to unlock the potential in each child so that they can grow cognitively, emotionally, socially, physically and psychologically. It doesn’t restrict children to the rigid agendas and processes used in traditional schools; instead it recognises the intrinsic value and worth of individual children.
Children need a learning environment that enables them to progress in their own way and in their own time. The Modern Montessori Method provides that freedom to learn and, by avoiding restrictions and criticisms, it instills in children a life-long love of learning.
The Montessori philosophy is based on the natural phases of childhood development and uses children’s natural inclination to explore, learn and grow as a basis for guiding this development. There are two over-riding principles that govern the Montessori Method:
- Children need freedom to learn.
- Learning is facilitated in a carefully prepared environment that provides new experiences and stimulation.
Children who are given the freedom and the guidance to learn in this way develop holistically, meaning intellectually, as well as physically and psychologically. A Montessori education taps into children’s desire to learn and guides them as they discover their own capabilities. Adults provide this guidance and show children that the world is full of possibilities, but it’s up to the children themselves to fully explore these possibilities.
For the Montessori Method to work teachers and parents need to understand four things:
- Individuality is paramount. Children are fundamentally different from adults just as they are fundamentally different from each other.
- Children are uniquely sensitive to their environment, absorbing everything they see, hear and feel; and they learn lessons from all of it.
- The first six years are critical in children’s development; they need the right encouragement to bring unconscious learning to the conscious level.
- Children love to work and they love to work with purpose. Most of their joy is derived from the doing and not necessarily the completing. These activities drive their mental, physical and psychological growth. And, it’s by fully engaging in these purposeful activities that they learn to develop their individuality.