Montessori classrooms provide a prepared environment where children are free to respond to their natural tendency to work. The children’s innate passion for learning is encouraged by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities with the guidance of a trained adult. Through their work, the children develop concentration and joyful self-discipline. Within a framework of order, the children progress at their own pace and rhythm, according to their individual capabilities.
The main premises of Montessori education are:
- Children are to be respected as different from adults and as individuals who differ from each other.
- The child possesses an unusual sensitivity and intellectual ability, unlike those of the adult, to absorb and learn from his environment, both in quality and quantity.
- The first six years of life are the most important years of a child’s growth when unconscious learning gradually emerges to the conscious level.
The specially prepared classrooms are multi-age groups (0-3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12), custom made so that everything is reachable and scaled for children to use. They contain specific materials that invite children to engage in learning activities of their own individual choice, under the guidance of a specially trained Montessori teacher.
Dr Montessori’s observations of the kind of things children enjoy and return to repeatedly, aided in her design of several multi-sensory, sequential and self-correcting materials to facilitate learning. Children in a Montessori classroom learn by making discoveries with these materials, cultivating concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning. Every child learns individually and is encouraged to work at his or her own pace.
Montessori Teacher (guide)
A fully-trained teacher who facilitates, guides and helps (but does not impose their own will) allowing the child to experience the joy of learning, the time to enjoy the process, thereby ensuring the development of self-esteem. The child and teacher form a relationship based on trust and respect to foster self-confidence and a willingness to try new things.
Self-esteem and confidence
Tasks are designed so that each new step is built upon what the child has already mastered. This removes the negative experience of frequent failure, contributing to the child’s healthy emotional development.
Through a series of absorbing experiences, the child forms habits of extended attention, increasing their ability to concentrate.
Montessori education is hands on, opportunities are offered for the child to discover qualities, dimensions and relationships amidst a variety of stimulating learning situations thereby developing curiosity, an essential element in creative learning.
Teach by fulfillment
At no level of learning are papers returned to a child with angry red marks and corrections. Instead, the child’s effort and work are respected. There is neither punishment nor reward because Dr Montessori observed that small children expect neither. Their reward is in the happy completion of a job itself and the natural respect that it commands.
Initiative and persistence
The child is surrounded with materials and activities geared to her inner needs so that she becomes accustomed to engaging in activities on her own, resulting in a habit of initiative.