The Montessori Method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. ... It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive.
"The secret of good teaching is to regard the children's intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination. Our aim, therefore, is not merely to make the children understand, and still less to force them to memorize, but so to touch their imagination as to enthuse them to their innermost core..."
-Dr. Maria Montessori
Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was moved to create her educational method from a profound appreciation for the power and mystery of the child. The child, given primary respect, makes spontaneous choices within a prepared environment, and is “free to create himself.” Students in all parts of the world have benefited greatly from this understanding of discipline, which teaches freedom and responsibility.
Montessori Education capitalizes on natural learning preferences of children:
Freedom of movement
Use of hands through manipulatives
Encourages decision-making and choices
Discovery approach as opposed to rote or lecture
Success of mixed ages
Self-paced through individualized approach
Optimal use of time
Montessori Education focuses on the "total child":
Care for self and the environment
Social development and Moral development (mutual respect)
HOW IS MONTESSORI DIFFERENT?
Give children resposiblity and space to grow.
Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Materials and manipulatives that are beautiful and inticing help motivate children intrinsically to learn.
Think of the classroom space as a solar system. In many traditional schools, desks are lined up in much the same way and the teacher is the center of the system. The children orbit around the teacher and the pace of their curriculum. In a Montessori classroom, each student is a sun and the teacher orbits the child as a guide. Many children work on the floor or at tables. They move about the room as they choose which piece of work they want to do next.
Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. The ability to choose (with teacher guidance and established expectations) allows children the opportunity to learn organizational skills, time management, and work ethic. Self-driven and inquisitive children tend to excel in a Montessori environment.
Montessori represents an entirely different approach to education with techniques that are becoming increasingly popular in mainstream education.