When you visit an authentic Montessori classroom, you will notice it seems more like a private home than a conventional classroom. First of all, the students are not all the same age. This fact reduces competition and promotes cooperation. At each level, the furniture and the activities available fit the developing bodies and minds of the students. You will notice that the adults in the room are not “center stage” as they are in conventional schools.
At all levels, there is a respectful rapport between the adults and the children. The teacher does give lessons, either to individuals or to a small group. You will see the adults coaching and encouraging students as they practice their lessons. You will also see children choosing many different activities and working quietly at them without disturbing one another.
A Montessori education will help students to develop a deep love for self-mastery and learning. They will be taught to be learners in a self-directed way who will be realizing and living up to their fullest creative potential.
Children may be arranging long stairs or red rods. They will all be of the same color and the same dimensions with the exception of their length. Many Montessori materials isolate one quality in order to clarify it. Children may be working with an interesting puzzle map of, for example, Africa. When the teacher first presents the map, the child may work it like a puzzle, but later he or she will learn the names of the countries and begin making his or her own map.
If you are looking for a safe, peaceful, loving environment, a place designed with the child in mind, a place where children discover through exploration, learn through experience, and mature through independence, a Montessori School might be your best option. Your children will appreciate engaging materials and be loved by trained and compassionate teachers. You will love the safety and developmental support of a Montessori school.
Children are acute observers, eager to learn, to explore, to try new skills and to master them through practice, that’s a key element of the Montessori philosophy. At a very young age, the child is able to concentrate on a task, absorb sequences and procedures, and master new language and physical skills if they are introduced in a way appropriate to the child’s age, size, and needs.
Montessori Primary Classes are for children who are ready for a full day of academics. Learning includes taking care of self, keeping one’s work area clean and orderly, choosing a task and putting it away. Kindness and respect for others are emphasized.T he children are exposed to a variety of colors, sounds, shapes, and textures through specially-designed materials. Three-dimensional manipulatives strengthen and organize their perceptions. Sensory materials provide a concrete foundation for abstract concepts at the same time that they educate the senses. The sensorial area includes an introduction to music theory and note reading.
Language learning includes working with materials which introduce children to reading, writing, and grammar concepts. Geography, botany, and zoology are considered part of the language area. Mathematics introduces the children to basic math concepts and operations including numeration, place value, regrouping and set theory. The children will develop the same character strengths as listed above.
Montessori does not end in the primary years. It continues through the elementary years by changing with the academic and developmental needs of each child. All of the traditional subjects including reading, writing, mathematics, science, geography, and history make up Montessori curriculums along with foreign language, art, music an, dance.
The Montessori method in which these subjects are taught is wonderfully non-traditional. The materials for these subjects are arranged so that the child moves through directed steps, which she can easily master. Click here for an infographic gives you a pretty good idea of what the Montessori method is all about.
The students are encouraged to seek understanding of a subject through research, discussion, experiments, and hands-on experience. The children choose their work and may work alone or in small groups with their mixed age classmates, where they learn to think and make decisions about their projects.
The elementary child has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Therefore a Montessori elementary education is meant to provide your child with an interrelated knowledge of all topics rather than a collection of memorized facts. It also teaches the child a systematic framework for studying and researching all topics that interest them.
This does not mean that the core academics of reading, writing, and arithmetic are not emphasized; rather, these skills are refined in the elementary years through applied work which starts with the child’s own questions about exploring and learning about the world around him.
The children work in an atmosphere of kindness and mutual respect. Service learning is part of the curriculum. The program creates an environment where the children accept responsibility for themselves and begin to see themselves as persons of integrity and character.
The students are required to keep a daily journal of their activities. Each child regularly reviews her progress in each subject with the teacher. Once a week, the child will bring home some of the work he or she has completed for the parents and child to review together. In addition, parents are kept apprised of their child’s progress at conference times. See also this page about famous Montessori graduates.
Parents often wonder how successful their children will be when they transition into a more conventional school. Studies have indicated that Montessori children encounter little or no problems with the transition to other schools. Most excel academically as well as socially as a result of the experiences they had during their Montessori years. Because the Montessori materials cover the standard school curriculum generally, and in many instances go beyond, along with having achieved a high level of personal development, your child is usually very well prepared after completing Montessori elementary to enter their recommended grade in a public or private school.
Montessori children are usually good problem solvers who have a balanced outlook on life. They do not study just to get good grades, but because they actually love learning. Additionally, Montessori graduates are superior in another important aspect of development. Montessori is character- building. It encourages initiative, a positive self- image, and a desire to make the world a better place.