Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. In Montessori classrooms children make creative choices in their learning, while the classroom and the highly trained teacher offer age-appropriate activities to guide the process. Children work in groups and individually to discover and explore knowledge of the world and to develop their maximum potential.
Montessori classrooms are beautifully crafted environments designed to meet the needs of children in a specific age range. Dr. Maria Montessori discovered that experiential learning in this type of classroom led to a deeper understanding of language, mathematics, science, music, social interactions and much more. Most Montessori classrooms are secular in nature, although the Montessori educational method can be integrated successfully into a faith-based program.
Every material in a Montessori classroom supports an aspect of child development, creating a match between the child’s natural interests and the available activities. Children can learn through their own experience and at their own pace. They can respond at any moment to the natural curiosities that exist in all humans and build a solid foundation for life-long learning.
The Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) was established by Maria Montessori in 1929 to protect the integrity of her work and to support high standards for both teacher training and schools. Today, AMI continues to uphold Maria Montessori’s vision while collaborating with contemporary research in neuroscience and child development. Montessori Northwest is proud to be an official teacher training center of AMI, training teachers to work with children from birth to age twelve.
The Montessori curriculum has been supported by many as an ideal learning environment for children from primary to elementary grade levels. Currently, there are over 4,000 Montessori schools across America. These schools adopt most of the main principles of Montessori education:
• Children are to be respected for their individuality.
• Children have an intrinsic, or natural, motivation to learn and will do so if given the right resources and opportunities in the classroom.
• The first six years of a child's life are the most formative.
• Adults in the classroom are merely facilitators and observers of learning; children have the ability to direct their own learning without interference from adults.
• Rote memorization of material does not nurture a child's individual skills and abilities and, in fact, inhibits, or reduces, them.
• Emphasis is placed on early childhood development. During this period, children are exposed to Montessori methods and practices that are continued well into the primary years of school. It is during the early childhood period that children's minds are the most adaptable to learning new information.
According to Montessori practices, children are allowed to choose their work instead of the teacher choosing the work for them. An effective teacher in the Montessori classroom serves more as a guide, whose responsibility is to observe children during their periods and assess them according to mastery. By observing children's behaviors, the teacher is able to identify what motivates them.
With this in mind, the Montessori classroom provides a child-centered setting, in which mastery of certain ideas is emphasized without placing unnecessary limitations on the child. The Montessori method is designed to make the learning environment a meaningful experience based on children's natural desire to learn.
•With this in mind, the classroom setting is prepared with materials appropriate for the students to explore at their own leisure, based on their interests. This motivates students to want to learn by exploring their immediate surroundings and resources.
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