Maria Montessori was believing that all children will learn at their best in a secure and well-prepared environment, a trusted place in which all children are capable of and stimulated to do many things and learn for themselves. A school’s prepared environment ensures that learning materials will be available to the children orderly which will enhance their learning experience.
Montessori described the classroom in a way similar to what educators advocate when they’re talking about active learning and child-centered teaching and education. The most important characteristic of a prepared environment is freedom. Because the children within the prepared environment will be free to work with materials they choose themselves, they will much easier absorb the things and information that’s available there. Montessori was truly a master at setting up an environment for children that allowed them to act in an active and independent way to learn the most in the best way. See also this video about Google founders. Indeed, Montessori graduates:
Many students who went to Montessori schools for a couple of years were surprised that when they later went to a so-called regular school, they saw their classmates struggle to read, for example, more lines or had difficulty with writing cursive. Montessori kids are so far ahead! Now you may wonder why is that. Well, at Montessori schools, you are given exercises to play with words and come up with new words from, for example, wooden letters. You’re left to your own devices. Your pace, your way.
Nowadays, this is often referred to as “New Learning” and to be honest, this is how learning should be approached, and this is definitely not a kids-only issue or approach. It’s also for big people. Today, there is a strong and growing case for just throwing new employees into a new job without any decent training. We all know that among the best places where real-life education and learning occurs are workplaces, on the job so to speak. And there are simple reasons for this: Humans are, by nature, avid learners. Humans are learning from every little thing they’re doing. When humans are watching TV, they are learning about everyday events and the news, and when they’re going on a trip, humans are learning all about how they can get to where they want to go, what the place offers, and what it will be like to hang out there. We are Learning Creatures. For an interesting infographic that shows all aspects of the Montessori method, click here.
This way of constant learning is also taking place at the workplace. If employees should learn a job, it makes sense that, within a controlled environment, probably the best way they can learn the job will be simply to let them do the job. People perform at their best, also on the job, when they’re faced with challenges in freedom, perhaps with some basic guidance. Passive learning really has failed us all because it doesn’t resemble the way we are acquiring knowledge in our real-life situations. Maybe all training and education should be active in this way? And it actually doesn’t matter if this concerns kids or adults. We’re all curious constant learners, aren’t we? See this post about choosing the right school for your child.
Big, successful companies and corporations love do work in a Montessori-like way. They generally have laid out very concrete processes and goals. They give their workers the tools they require so they can learn everything they’re expected to do. New tasks are introduced in a way that they become relevant to all their users. Would you know of a better way to learn? See also this infographic with seven ways how Montessori education will help your child.
This infographic shows some of the famous Montessori graduates such as:
Not included but also graduated from Montessori are: