A Montessori education fosters a love of learning in children. It helps children to build self confidence, self-discipline and self-esteem and guides them towards positive, desirable social behaviour. Whilst encouraging independence it also develops a respect and caring for other people, their property and privacy. All of this is achieved in an orderly, prepared environment created especially for the Montessori child.
Developed at the turn of the twentieth Century by Maria Montessori, Italy’s first female doctor, this approach to education is based on the promise that the first six years of your child’s life are the most crucial for later learning. Dr Maria Montessori pioneered this unique method of education, which is now heralded throughout the world for the results it produces with children from all backgrounds and races.
The Montessori approach actually encourages a pre-schooler’s love of learning. It takes into account your child’s remarkable power to absorb knowledge and to learn from his or her environment. Unlike conventional methods that are controlled by rote and memorised facts, the Montessori approach continues to stimulate and develop a spontaneous and independent individual.
The Montessori classroom is an environment that nourishes your child’s natural curiosity and desire to explore at their own pace. Each child experiences the excitement of making his/her own discoveries with the range of carefully thought-out practical and sensorial equipment. Much of it is self-correcting so the child can see for himself/herself when they have succeeded. Achieving builds confidence and self-discipline, while the activities assist co-ordination, concentration and an organised approach to problem solving. Tasks are programmed so that each new step is built on what your child has already mastered.
Dr. Maria Montessori, spent forty years developing her method of education and during that time she discovered that children have an innate desire to learn and an effortless ability to teach themselves when given an orderly, prepared environment in which to do so. She believed that education began at birth and that the first six years, being the most formative both physically and mentally, are the most important. It is during this time that a child’s
absorption is at its highest and attitudes and patterns of learning are formed that will last for life.
The Montessori teacher approaches each child with a profound respect for his/her individual personality and requirements. She guides and observes each child, presenting new experiences to him/her in a very precise an deliberate manner, building on what he/she has already mastered. In all the material there is a “control of error” factor, which allows the child to correct his/her own mistakes thus developing confidence and self-esteem.
Within this non-competitive environment the younger children spontaneously learn by watching and seeking help from the older children who take the responsibility of being “leaders” very seriously, learning admirable social qualities of non-aggression, non-interruption and respect for other people.
Montessori classroom is divided into four distinct areas Practical Life, Sensorial, Mathematics and Language.
THE FOUR DISTINCT MONTESSORI AREAS
This is the link between home and classroom where the child discovers order and independence through materials and activities, which develop, fine motor skills and other abilities. Control of movement, care of the person, care of the surroundings, grace and courtesy are dealt with in this area.
The child develops detailed and accurate sensory impressions with materials, which isolate the fundamental qualities perceived through the senses such as colour, form, dimension, texture, temperature, volume, pitch, weight and taste
Reading, writing, spelling and grammar are not taught as separate entities. The muscular movement and fine motor skills developed in the earlier stages as well as the distinguishing of sounds, which make up language are all preparation for writing. With this background the child progresses through the “sand-paper” letters, the movable alphabet, reproducing words, phrases and sentences. The inaccuracies of non-phonetic spelling and grammar are then presented with the child soon able to write stories and read them back.
Through the sensorial material the child has already experienced the distinctions of distance, dimension, gradation, identity, similarity and sequence. He/she is now introduced to the functions and operations of numbers, learning to add, subtract, multiply and divide as he/she comes to understand how the many abstract mathematical concepts are related to life.