This is a school where your child gets one on one teaching and special attention. The directress follows your child’s learning tempo by using specialised materials and equipment.
Your child can work with the same equipment over and over again reinforcing a certain learning concept. The child can spot his own errors from feedback of the material. There is no comparison between children.
Children have the freedom of movement and choice. Children develop self-discipline and learn to respect themselves and others. The child’s senses are stimulated with multi-sensory material. There are no formal lessons. Your child is taught to help himself and to become independent. The directress will respect your child as a person. The directress (teacher) has an unobtrusive role in the classroom.
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The name Montessori is the surname of the dynamic lady who developed this new philosophy in childhood education in the late 1800s. Dr Maria Montessori was born in Italy in 1870. She managed to qualify as the first female doctor in Italy. She became interested in education through her work as a doctor, treating children with disabilities. She approached education not as an educator or philosopher but as a scientist.
Through observing disadvantaged children in a classroom situation she developed ideas and materials, which would help them to achieve their full potential. Every piece of equipment, every exercise, every method Montessori developed was based on what she observed children to do “naturally,” by themselves, unassisted by adults.
Realising that her approach was successful, she decided to try the same programme on children unhindered by disabilities. Her theories were developed to fulfil the needs of the developing child. Maria Montessori had an intense love and respect for all children. She travelled the world, establishing schools and lecturing about her discoveries.
She wrote numerous books and articles. She died in 1952 at the age of 82 leaving us with the Montessori method of education, which lives on through the ongoing efforts of those called to further her method in schools and homes all over the world.
The Montessori method entails the following; Maria Montessori identified stages of development in children when they have the ability to learn certain skills more easily, providing they are given appropriate materials and stimuli. The materials are divided in different groups e.g. Practical Life, Sensorial, Geometry and Algebra, Language, Math and Cultural Studies that includes Biology, History etc. Children have the freedom of movement and choice to work with the material on their own time in their own working space.
The directress will present a piece of work to the child, bearing in mind to follow the child thus the child sets his own learning pace. Children also learn by watching each other work. In a Montessori pre-school the ages 3 to 6 are in one class, this give the children the opportunity to help each other. Children are not allowed to disturb each other and learn to respect each other while working. They also learn to respect their environment. An orderly and well-prepared environment is very important.
There is only one of each item and children learn to wait their turn patiently. It is an environment and method that encourages self-discipline. The child reinforces his own learning by repetition of work. It is important to keep in mind that the directress has an unobtrusive role in the classroom; she is not the “controller” that forms the centre of the classroom.
Some differences between Montessori and Traditional Pre-Schools
|Teacher has unobtrusive role in classroom||Teacher is centre of classroom as “controller”|
|Teacher facilitates||Teacher acts as lecturer|
|Environment and method encourage self-discipline||Teacher acts as primary enforcer of discipline|
|Mainly individual instruction||Mainly group and individual instruction|
|Mixed age grouping||Same age grouping|
|Grouping encourages children to teach and help each other||Most teaching done by teacher|
|Child chooses own work||Curriculum structured for child|
|Child discovers own concepts from self-teaching materials||Child is guided to concepts by teacher|
|Child works as long as he wishes on chosen project||Child generally allotted specific time for work|
|Child sets own learning pace||Instruction pace usually set by group norm|
|Child spots own errors from feedback of material||If work is corrected, errors usually pointed out by teacher|
|Child reinforces own learning by repetition of work and internal feelings of success||Learning is reinforced externally by repetition and rewards|
|Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration||Fewer materials for sensory development|
|Organized program for learning care of self and environment||Less emphasis on self-care instruction|
|Child can work where he chooses; can move around.,Group work is voluntary.||Child usually assigned own chair, encouraged to participate, sit still,and listen during lessons|