Much has been written about ‘the Montessori method’, but exactly what does that mean?
Developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician, educator and innovator, Montessori is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adolescence.
The hallmark of a Montessori education is based on nurturing and cultivating the child’s natural desire to learn by:
- Creating student-centered learning environments that are prepared, adaptive and responsive to student needs
- Providing hands-on concrete experiences with specifically-designed Montessori materials
- Encouraging exploration, problem solving and creative reasoning as part of the learning process
- Supporting the development of the whole child, socially, emotionally, cognitively and physically
- Fostering intrinsic motivation by focusing on process rather than product
- Offering multi-aged groupings and social settings as a community within each classroom
- Focusing on cooperation, collaboration and mutual respect
- Promoting “freedom within limits” by providing opportunities for self-directed choices within an ordered and structured framework
- Promoting independence, leadership, responsibility and self-reliance
Aspects that are unique to a Montessori Education:
The Prepared Environment
The Montessori classroom is warm, inviting and aesthetically pleasing. It is organized to support the natural developmental needs of the age group it serves. It contains multi-sensory, sequential and self-correcting materials to facilitate self-directed learning and exploration by the child.
Freedom within limits
The Montessori classroom balances freedom with responsibility. The prepared environment allows the children the freedom to choose their own work, guided by the teacher. The fact that the students have opportunity to choose and make decisions fosters independence, self-discipline and self-confidence.
The multi-age groupings provide opportunities for broad social development and meaningful friendships, which are often life-long. Respect of ground rules and an emphasis on care for one another and the environment supports the need to get along and to settle differences peacefully. The range of ages and abilities helps to build a tolerance and appreciation of individual differences and fosters collaboration and cooperation as the students form their own cohesive community.
Visit the Richmond Montessori website for more information and schedule a visit to see first-hand how it works. It’s time that will provide your child with a bright future!
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