Teaching Styles: #2 Montessori

Day 2 of our teaching styles series is Montessori schooling! Read below to learn more about this interactive and fun philosophy and get some ideas for Montessori-related activities.  


 

Montessori schooling began in the late 1800s by an Italian physician and educator. The first Montessori based classroom was opened in 1907 in Rome. 

This educational style is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development. This level of learning is reached by a few specific requirements:

  • Mixed age classrooms, with classrooms for children ages 212 or 3 to 6 years old by far the most common
  • Student choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options
  • Uninterrupted blocks of work time, ideally three hours
  • A constructivist or “discovery” model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction
  • Specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators
  • Freedom of movement within the classroom
  • A trained Montessori teacher

The teacher, child, and environment create a learning triangle. The classroom is  prepared by the teacher to encourage independence, freedom within limits, and a sense of order. The child, through individual choice, makes use of what the environment offers to develop himself, interacting with the teacher when support and/or guidance is needed.

Montessori education offers our children opportunities to develop their potential as they step out into the world as engaged, competent, responsible, and respectful citizens with an understanding and appreciation that learning is for life.

  • Each child is valued as a unique individual. Montessori education recognizes that children learn in different ways, and accommodates all learning styles. 
  • Beginning at an early age, Montessori students develop order, coordination, concentration, and independence. Classroom design, materials, and daily routines support the individual’s emerging “self-regulation” (ability to educate one’s self, and to think about what one is learning), toddlers through adolescents.
  • Students are part of a close, caring community. The multi-age classroom—typically spanning 3 years—re-creates a family structure. Older students enjoy stature as mentors and role models; younger children feel supported and gain confidence about the challenges ahead. Teachers model respect, loving kindness, and a belief in peaceful conflict resolution.
  • Montessori students enjoy freedom within limits. Working within parameters set by their teachers, students are active participants in deciding what their focus of learning will be. Montessorians understand that internal satisfaction drives the child’s curiosity and interest and results in joyous learning that is sustainable over a lifetime.
  • Students are supported in becoming active seekers of knowledge. Teachers provide environments where students have the freedom and the tools to pursue answers to their own questions.
  • Self-correction and self-assessment are an integral part of the Montessori classroom approach. As they mature, students learn to look critically at their work, and become adept at recognizing, correcting, and learning from their errors.

 

He doesn’t think about it. He goes to his shelves (in this case in our art cupboard) selects a tray, takes it to his table, sets up the activity (here it involves getting one of two more items including the place mat and water for the jar), completes the activity, packs everything away or back on the tray and returns the tray to the shelf. 

The mystery bag has long been a favorite children’s activity. Usually it is simply a cloth bag or box with a hole for your child’s hands, through which she can touch and manipulate objects that she cannot see. To play you will need a collection of small object with which your child is familiar and which she can name. While she closes her eyes, place an object inside the bag and challenge her to identify it by touch alone. If your child guesses correctly, you and your child switch roles. Keep this game going for older children by making it more difficult, using different coins, shells, or geometric shapes, for example.  – See more at: http://www.howwemontessori.com/how-we-montessori/activities/#sthash.xRFRk7Hl.dpuf

 

Sources:

American Montessori Society

How We Montessori 

 

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