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The Montessori Method

Overview  

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After years of observing children at work and at play, the Italian Dr. Maria Montessori founded the first Casa de Bambino (Children's House) to test her theories on education in 1907. Her method - which went on to become the most widely used pedagogy in the world - introduced a radical approach to education that maximizes each child’s individual drives and strengths, using materials that stimulate self-teaching, to develop lifelong learners.

Everything about the method, including the unique layout of a traditional Montessori classroom with its classic Montessori materials, creates an environment strategically designed to let children discover their own inner set of drives and strengths. A Montessori education fosters a love of learning while laying the foundation for independence and responsibility.

Montessori children are unusually adaptable. Since they’ve been encouraged to make decisions from an early age, these children are problem solvers who can make appropriate choices and manage their time well. They have been encouraged to exchange ideas and discuss their work freely with others, and have learned to work both independently and in groups. Their strong communication skills and inner confidence ease the way in new settings. They are equipped to become leaders and pioneers.

Superwoman Was Already Here

Why Montessori

Comparison of Traditional Public v Montessori Education

Traditional Education Montessori Education
Classrooms are based on teacher-centered lessons or activities. Teacher is center of attention and drives learning process; individual and group instruction conforms to adult's teaching style Classrooms are prepared based on observations of students’ individual needs. Student-centered learning environment includes hands-on lessons and activities; individual and group instruction adapts to each student's learning style
With the teacher's role dominant and active the child is a passive participant in learning - listening passively to lessons orated by the teacher, memorizing, and taking tests. The teacher is the leader and children are expected to follow. The teacher's role is unobtrusive. Learning is active as understanding comes through the child’s own experiences via materials specially prepared for the purpose, and the promotion of children’s ability to find things out for themselves. Teachers are guides only, encouraging children to act and think for themselves.
Dependency is promoted since the activities are initiated by the teacher. Independence is fostered by a classroom designed to encourage development.
Class-Oriented teaching prevents close interaction between individual students and teacher. Standardized tests are necessary to determine student progress Close Student-Teacher interaction enables complete and precise evaluation of student’s progress, both academically and psychologically.
Teachers must deliver the same lesson, at the same pace, in the same order, for all of the students, based on the transfer of a national curriculum. Each student is directly affected by the progress of the whole class. Teachers act as guides and consultants to students on a one-on-one basis, assisting each child along his or her own learning path. Each individual works at his potential and developmental level, according to individual interests, independent of the class.
Curricula are predetermined without regard to student needs. Curricula expand in response to the students’ needs.
Teacher is primary enforcer of external discipline Environment and method encourage internal self-discipline
Self-esteem is thought to come from external judgment and validation. Child’s self-esteem comes from an internal sense of pride in his or her own accomplishments.
Main focus on academics Main emphasis on intellectual development. Shared focus on the acquisition of academic, social, practical and life skills
Group learning involves each subject being scheduled for a limited period. Time limitations are mandated by arbitrary “period” schedules. Working at one’s own pace enables students to work for long periods without interruption. Children work on lessons as long as needed.
Fragmented Education provides academic subjects that are not interrelated. Periods of intense mental efforts are alternated with periods of vigorous physical activity to release tension. Integral (Interwoven) education balances academic work with freedom of movement and harmony is created between physical, social and mental activities. There is an interrelationship between subjects.
Class comparison occurs as work is evaluated and graded by the teacher. Students evaluate themselves against the group as being the best or worst in the class. Self-Evaluation occurs as students learn to evaluate their work objectively through the use of self-correcting teaching materials and individual work with the teacher.
Curricula focus on standardized test performance and grades. Children learn because it is mandatory. Curricula are intended to appeal to the child’s innate hunger for knowledge. Children learn to love learning.
Grade levels are inflexible, defined by chronological age within a twelve-month period. Chronological grouping requires external rewards such as grades, and creates an environment that fosters both competition and social conformity. Class groupings are determined by the child’s developmental range (i.e., 6-9, 9-12, 12-15, and 15-18). Multi-age classrooms mirror a more natural social environment and foster self-motivation. Students enjoy working for their own sense of accomplishment.
Children sit at assigned desks, encouraged to sit still and listen during group sessions and aren't allowed to move without permission or choose their own materials. Child can work where he/she is comfortable, move around and talk at will while not disturbing others, group work is voluntary and negotiable, and children are free to around the classroom and pick materials at will.

Montessori Mafia
So many of today's top creative executives and technological pioneers attended Montessori schools that The Wall Street Journal was inspired to run a story on “The Montessori Mafia.”

Props to Dr. Maria

Research Shows...

The best predictor of future success is a positive sense of self-esteem. Montessori programs, based on self-directed, non-competitive activities, help children develop strong self-images and the confidence to face challenges and change with optimism.

"Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war."

- Dr. Maria Montessori

Famous Alum

Montessori alumni include Bill Gates, Washington Post owner/editor Catherine Graham, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Anne Frank, Princes William and Harry, George Clooney, Gabriel Garcia Maquel, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, and the co-founders of Google,to name just a few.

“The essential thing is to arouse such an interest that it engages the child’s whole personality.”

- Dr. Maria Montessori