What is Montessori

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
”The first essential for the child's development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy.„
Maria Montessori

 

 
 
What is Montessori

 

Maria Montessori observed that children under six absorb limitlessly and effortlessly from the world around them, and in doing so, lay down all the foundations for later life. She determined that every child has a special mind that she called, 'The Absorbent Mind' – a strong desire to explore everything around them using their senses and drive to become independent. She identified certain windows of opportunities for the children that she called, 'Sensitive Periods', during which the child is learning certain skills easier than any other time of their life. These include the sensitive period for order, language, socialization, movement, small objects etc. The prepared environment in Montessori settings provides support for these windows of opportunities. 

 

The equipment is laid out in an orderly manner on shelves that are easily accessible by the children. Children between the ages of 2,5 – 6+  are grouped together in their own mini society. The younger children learn from watching the older ones and the older children benefit from helping the younger ones. Mixing the age groups allows the children to develop socially, intellectually, and emotionally, and is an essential part of the Montessori classroom.

 

The Montessori method emphasizes the uniqueness of each child. It is based on observing young children and learning from them about their needs. Each child is nurtured and guided individually, encouraged to learn at their own pace in a prepared environment.

 

The youngest children are guided in "practical life" skills towards taking care of themselves, maintaining their environment, and interacting gracefully with others. Through relevant activities children develop and refine essential skills such as focusing attention, hand-eye-body coordination and perseverance, all important pre-requisites for later learning.

 

In a true Montessori classroom you will observe children choosing their own activities independently and moving from one activity to the next with purpose. You will see small children helping each other and putting things away without being asked to. They also perform unanticipated acts of kindness purely to benefit the group as a whole. You will experience a calm atmosphere and see young children concentrating for remarkable lengths of time.

 

In a Montessori classroom, the child is guided by a trained adult who shows the child how to do things or work with the material that he/she is ready for.  After such presentations the child is encouraged to work independently. Each child's needs are assessed through observation by the Directress and new materials are only introduced when the child is developmentally ready for new explorations. Everything in the classroom, in addition to its direct objective, also indirectly prepares for later learning. Thus, moving through the curriculum enables the child to develop new skills effortlessly.