“The child can only develop fully by means of experience in his environment. We call such experience ‘work’.” - Maria Montessori
What is Montessori?
Montessori is an educational method that is focused on the whole child, meaning children’s intellectual, physical, social and emotional development. Montessori is centered around a carefully prepared, sensory-rich classroom environment to encourage children to learn through curiosity and desire.
The classroom, or prepared environment, consists of appealing, hands-on activities called work. The work materials are designed to enable students to move around the room, working independently. Teachers must introduce and guide student work. It may sound unstructured, but it is very structured and intentional.
Montessori teachers are there to create a warm and supportive community in order to meet each child’s learning needs. Teachers are not dependent on textbooks and worksheets, but use the Montessori classroom materials to guide independent learning. A classroom is not run by teachers, but also by the students who learn to manage their own community and in doing, develop lifelong collaborative and leadership skills.
In Montessori education, there is a deep focus on character -- on peace, on caring for others in community and caring for the environment. Children, even very young children, are capable citizens and stewards.
When Montessori works
-Children are individuals to be respected in a warm, supportive community of teachers, parents and staff
-Children learn for understanding, not rote progress, in multi-age settings.
-Children learn character traits such as concentration, independence, liberty, industry and a sense of reality.
-Children’s needs are best met in child-centered classrooms that offer hands on, concrete learning materials to bring concepts and skills to life.
-Children have freedom of movement to focus and to meet their own needs, like get a drink, have a snack, and use the bathroom.
-Children love school, because their curiosity is respected and given a growth mindset.