The Montessori Method of teaching aims to achieve the fullest possible development of the whole child while ultimately preparing them for life’s many rich experiences. Complemented by her training in medicine, psychology, and anthropology, Dr. Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952) developed her philosophy of education based upon actual observations of children.
The Montessori Method provides a pleasant environment with carefully devised materials that meet the child’s natural needs and of course, nurture his or her absorbent mind. The Montessori teaching method is a sensible balance between freedom and structure specifically designed for a young child in a nursery or school environment.
Montessori is used in many nursery schools around the world and provides a unique and stimulating educational experience for young learners. It enables the child to develop self-confidence, security, a sense of order and social relationships, creative intelligence and imagination. It also sharpens the ability to discriminate, make judgments and build up a child’s concentration span.
Dr. Maria Montessori developed a method of nursery education in Italy, which has spread across the globe. Children pass through sensitive periods of development early in life. Dr. Montessori described the child’s mind between the time of birth and six years of age as the “absorbent mind”. It is during this stage that children have a tremendous ability to learn and assimilate from the world around them, without conscious effort. During this time, children are particularly receptive to certain external stimuli.
A Montessori teacher recognizes and takes advantage of these highly perceptive stages through the introduction of materials and activities, which are specially designed to stimulate the intellect and feed the child with the necessary information needed for further development.
Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed – Dr. Maria Montessori
The secret of the Montessori Method is to identify what stage each individual child has reached and introduce activities to suit that stage. It gives children the opportunity to discover the environment at their own individual pace. In each Montessori activity the steps are carefully graded and done in such small increments that they lead, in a very short time, from the very simple to what, to many people, seem extremely complex concepts for children. It is by no means unusual for a four year old child in a Montessori nursery to be reading books, competent at addition and subtraction, as well as being able to dress and undress him or herself, prepare a snack and wash their plate and cup up afterwards.
Western society has tended to forget that the purpose of childhood is to develop the skills needed to become a self-sufficient adult.
Help me to do it alone – Dr. Maria Montessori
We tend to do everything for our children and frustrate their attempts at independence because they make a mess, take too long or we are worried about their safety. Once these skills have been acquired, greater emphasis is placed on learning about nature, how and why things work, different cultures, right & wrong and good manners.
Children’s mathematic and reading skills are extended to give a good grounding in the basics and they learn to form letters correctly in preparation for writing. By the time they leave Redwood Montessori Nursery for school, a Montessori child is well prepared and eager to make the most of what the future offers them. The Montessori Method teaches children how to be independent, to respect adults, other children and their environment. They have a good understanding of the world and how their society works. Montessori children are eager to learn, can express their own thoughts and ideas, are happy and above all, confident individuals.