What is Montessori?
The Montessori method nurtures a child’s love of learning while teaching the importance of respect, an ability to work with others and a strong sense of independence.
Montessori education recognizes that children intrinsically want to learn and that different children learn in different ways and at different paces. In authentic Montessori programs, students work in mixed-aged classrooms, learning through direct experience and investigation with special learning materials, enjoying blocks of uninterrupted work time and are guided in fulfilling their natural curiosity by specially trained teachers.
Mixed age classrooms allow children to learn from each other, provide a wide range of materials and curriculum and foster strong relationships between children and teachers who know each individual’s learning style. While work is self-directed, the teacher supports the child in her progress, assessing when a child has mastered work and is ready for the next challenge. Children in the oldest age group of a mixed age classroom develop positive self-esteem as the models for younger ones and as classroom leaders.
Collaborative work across age groups gives children important life skills in problem-solving and working together on projects as part of their academic experience.
Montessori incorporates a multi-sensory approach throughout early childhood and elementary years and into middle school. Children see, hear, touch, move and even taste and smell in their learning. Learning in tangible, physical ways makes understanding of abstract concepts easier.
Throughout the years of Montessori, children are steeped in learning how to self-correct, adjust and apply critical thinking. The respectful approach of the curriculum, from helping children know their freedom within the structure of their classrooms to peaceful conflict resolution skills, helps build a self-confident and independent learner who is prepared to face the next challenge.