WHAT IS MONTESSORI
- Montessori is the last name of Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman doctor of Italy, who lived from 1880-1952.
- She observed children and, from her observations, she supplied materials and set up an environment (classroom) to assist children in their normal development. Her method, therefore, is based on observation, not theory, and on child development.
- She worked originally with mentally challenged children and then in the slums of San Lorenzo , Rome, with normal children left at home all day while their parents worked.
- She was influenced by the research and studies of Jean Itard and Edward Seguin. Itard worked with the “Wild Boy of Aveyon” who lived with wolves until he was eleven.Itard designed hands-on language materials, which Dr. Montessori expanded on and used to help with language development. She used materials Seguin designed to help deaf children learn math.
- Her method of education became known as the Montessori method.
WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS OF THE MONTESSORI METHOD?
- Hands-on manipulatives arranged on low shelves in sequential order from concrete to abstract
- Free exploration and choice of the materials
- Prolonged time to work on those materials without interruption
- 3-year age grouping by developmental level, i.e., 3-6 years; 6-9 years; and 9-12 years
- Professionally trained teacher in Montessori pedagogy
WHAT ARE THE BASIC TENETS OF THE MONTESSORI METHOD?
- Children will choose activities that satiate a desire from within; thus, self-motivation is the key to learning and independence its by-product
- The mind and the hand work together; thus, manipulatives help children see concepts in a much deeper way
- Real, purposeful activities are more meaningful to a child; therefore, the Montessori classroom is filled with real kitchen work such as making snack, peeling carrots, sweeping, dusting and washing real dishes
- Nature provides a soothing environment; therefore, natural materials like basketry, plants and wood provide minimal distraction and invite respite from a kinetic lifestyle
- Movement is necessary to connecting brain neurons for learning; therefore, the classroom provides space for fluid movement by carrying trays of work to a rug and then back to the shelf
- Concentration is derived when one is absorbed in his work; therefore, children are given a three-hour uninterrupted block for in-depth work with the materials
- Respect for the child insures a welcome environment for learning; therefore, teachers speak quietly and redirect children who are not yet peaceful one-on-one without drawing attention
- The developmental range for a three-year grouping varies from child to child; therefore, teachers work one-on-one with a child on work she is developmentally ready for so children feel successful and enjoy learning
HOW DO TEACHERS KNOW WHERE EVERY CHILD IS AT DEVELOPMENTALLY?
- Teachers observe each child for what materials he has mastered and which ones he is starting to master; lessons are based on these observations.
- Periodic testing is done in some schools to comply with state testing mandates
- A record-keeping system /portfolio of work is updated on each child by the teacher; the results are shared at conferences