For infants & toddlers there are different rules, but experience has learned that classes are most successful if they consist of 30 to 35 children to one well-trained teacher assisted by a non-teaching assistant. The reason may be that the children will be staying in their own group for 3 to 6 years and in that period, much of what they learn is coming from the children themselves and their environment.
All learning processes are based on multiple styles and intelligences: spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intuitive, intrapersonal, and the traditional logical-mathematical and linguistic (math, reading, and writing). This particular educational model is supported by the theory of multiple intelligences developed by Howard Gardner, a well-respected Harvard psychologist.
The Montessori system has no grades, or any sort of punishment or reward, neither subtle nor overt. Assessments are done by portfolio and important are the teachers’ record keeping and observations. The proof that this system works lies in the children’s behavior and accomplishments. It shows in their maturity, love of learning, level of work, and their happiness.
The Montessori system has no specific requirements for this age group, but the children will be exposed to astonishing amounts of interesting subjects and frequently learn to write, read, and calculate far beyond the level that is common for children at these ages.
Montessori teachers remain alert to each child’s interests and will facilitate all children’s individual research in all study directions. The only curriculum requirements are those that are state designated, and for certain grade levels there are, of course, college entrance requirements, but this all can be done in a very limited period of time.
From the age of six on, the students need to design their own contracts with teachers for their own required course work, to balance this, and they will learn to be responsible for their own education and time management. The study subjects of the 6+ classes often include subject fields that are usually not addressed in traditional education until the students enroll in high school or college.
At Montessori education, character education is regarded equally important as academic education. Children will learn how best to take care of their environment, of themselves, and of each other. They will learn how to speak politely, to be helpful and considerate, to move gracefully, and they will be cleaning, cooking, gardening, and building.
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