What makes Montessori different from other education?
There are many differences. Among them:
- Children learn at their own pace, choosing from among the available classroom materials according to their own need to learn.
- The materials themselves are designed, on the basis of close observation of children, to respond to different stages of learning needs. They provide a self-correcting path from concrete, sensory understanding to abstract knowledge.
- Montessori teachers are trained to have confidence in the children’s learning process. They are thus able to take the time to observe each child at work, and intervene with gentle direction when necessary.
- Each child receives individual attention, wherever possible and certainly wherever needed; most presentations are one to one.
- Because the method allows each child to succeed in his or her own time, it is very reinforcing to the child’s own confidence. The work itself becomes the only reward required.
- Following the example of the teacher and the older children, each child learns to take responsibility for the materials, putting them back in the correct place for the next child to use. This becomes an active sharing in maintaining a harmonious environment for all.
- Children have continual opportunities for independent decision making while learning to respect the needs of others..
- The system not only suggests, it demands a close contact and co-operation among parent, teacher and child.
At what age do the children start?
Parent-Toddler group starts at 18 months.
Children may begin Cycle 1 at or near their third birthday. The earliest they can be accepted into the class is 2 years & 9 months. The children then naturally transition to Cycle 2 at around the age of 6 and to Cycle 3 when approaching 9 years of age.
Do Cycle 1 children attend every day?
Yes, they do attend every day in order to fully participate in all facets of a wide and rounded school life. They need to do this to be community members rather than visitors and to achieve continuity in their work and that of the class.
How do children cope moving to a traditional school from Montessori?
Experience shows that children cope very well. They have a concrete understanding of concepts usually learned in traditional schools on worksheets.
Why is there a three year age range in each class?
Older children act as role models for the younger, they instruct younger children, reviewing concepts themselves in the process. Patience and confidence are reinforced and practiced. The older children are able to work at their own level, if lower than their peers, without this becoming obvious to their peers. Younger children can also work at a level above that of their peers without it becoming obvious. Younger children learn to seek help and assistance of those more experienced than themselves. They begin to learn to help themselves.
What is the importance of completing the three year cycle?
Within each 3 year cycle, a sequenced body of information and skills is presented. Much depends on the repetition, at successive stages of development, of similar exercises, so that understanding is fully assimilated through senses, feelings and thinking. Failure to complete a 3 year cycle will leave gaps in knowledge and understanding that may be difficult to fill at a later stage. The 3 year cycle ensures completion of the work necessary to the development of the whole child at that particular age.
Why should my child remain in a Montessori school?
Each cycle of the curriculum equips your child with the foundation for the next. Just as the repetition of exercises within each cycle serves to consolidate learning, so the following cycles revisit and expand your child’s knowledge and understanding on a consistent path from the concrete to the abstract. The similar classroom environment, cooperative manner of working and style of guidance offered by the Montessori director provide a secure framework in which your child can confidently apply the skills and approaches to learning acquired in the previous three years. Consultation between cycle directors at the time of transition ensures that your child’s particular needs are well understood at each stage.
Who was Maria Montessori?
Maria Montessori, doctor, educator and feminist, was one of the most brilliant and original thinkers of the early 20th century. Montessori was a passionate advocate for the welfare and rights of the child. Her work in education was revolutionary at the time and her influence continues today in countries all around the world.
Born in Chiaravalle, Italy in 1870, Maria Montessori became, in 1896, the first woman to graduate in medicine from the University of Rome. After graduating, her first work as a doctor involved research with the Psychiatric Clinic at the University and this brought her into contact with children who were physically and intellectually disabled. Dr Montessori was quick to realise that their needs were as much educational as they were medical and from here developed her interest in education.
She furthered her study in the areas of philosophy, psychology and anthropology, and became a professor of anthropology at the University before directing her attention more fully towards the education of children. This then became her lifelong work. Maria Montessori worked with children of diverse social and cultural backgrounds. She developed her educational ideas through close observation and experimentation as well as freely using ideas from contemporary education. By 1909, she had become a public figure, spending her time lecturing, writing, travelling and establishing schools and training centres. She died on 6 May 1952, aged 81.