The Montessori philosophy is built upon the idea that children develop and think differently than adults, that they are not merely "adults in small bodies." Dr. Montessori advocated for children's rights and believed that children need guidance to develop themselves into successful adults.
The method was developed from observations of young children from which a set of characteristics of children was created for each level of development. The Montessori method has two primary development levels, the first is birth through six years old. A Montessori classroom for the infant, toddler and preschooler focuses on individually paced learning and development. The goal is to help children maintain their own natural joy of learning. The Montessori method encourages independence and freedom with limits and responsibility. The youngest children are guided in practical life skills, e.g., domestic skills and manners. These skills are emphasized with the goal of increasing attention spans, hand-eye coordination, and tenacity. The Montessori method states that satisfaction, contentment and joy result from the child feeling like a full participant in daily activities.
Montessori is a highly hands-on approach to learning. It encourages children to develop their observation skills by doing many types of activities using all of the five senses. It uses what are called “works” – individual workstations – to demonstrate various concepts appropriate to the child’s age and level of development. The teacher demonstrates the “work” to the child and then the child will be encouraged to do the activity either individually or with another child. A 2006 study published in the journal "Science" concluded that Montessori students performed better than their standard public school counterparts in a variety of arenas, including not only traditional academic areas such as language and mathematical reasoning, but in social cognition skills as well. “By the end of kindergarten, the Montessori children performed better on standardized tests of reading and math, engaged in positive interaction on the playground more, and showed advanced social cognition and executive control more. They also showed more concern for fairness and justice.
"Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world." – Maria Montessori
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