Why Choose Montessori?
Independence. The Montessori method has been in existence for more than one hundred years. If there is one trait that exemplifies the success of a Montessori school, it is that their students are creative, responsible and highly independent. If independence is coveted above all else, it is because it creates the freedom that is needed to develop, both academically and socially. Montessori helps children to think and act for themselves, independently and with the courage of thought.
The use of the materials is based on the young child’s unique aptitude for learning which Dr. Montessori identified as the “absorbent mind.” In her writings she frequently compared the young mind to a sponge. It literally absorbs information from the environment. The process is particularly evident in the way in which a two year-old learns a native language, without formal instruction and without the conscious, tedious effort which a adult must make to master a foreign tongue. Acquiring information in this way is a natural and delightful activity for the young child who employs all her senses to investigate her interesting surroundings.
Since the child retains this ability to learn by absorbing until she is almost seven years old, Dr. Montessori reasoned that his experience could be enriched by a classroom where she could handle materials which would demonstrate basic educational information to her. Over sixty years of experience have proved her theory that a young child can learn to read, write and calculate in the same natural way that she learns to walk and talk. In a Montessori classroom the equipment invites her to do this at her own period of interest and readiness.
Dr. Montessori always emphasized that the hand is the chief teacher of the child. In order to learn there must be concentration, and the best way a child can concentrate is by fixing his attention on some task he is performing with his hands. (The adult habit of doodling is a remnant of this practice.) All the equipment in a Montessori classroom allows the child to reinforce his casual impressions by inviting him to use his hands for learning.
The Montessori Philosophy
Each child is encouraged to develop at their own pace. In a specially designed learning environment, the materials are carefully prepared and displayed for the children. Each child is thereby free to choose their own activities. Each activity that is undertaken is complete in itself and relates to the other activities that cover physical, social and intellectual aspects of the development of the child. Children often concentrate for long periods of time, working individually or spontaneously with a group of friends.
What is Montessori?
Dr. Maria Montessori believed that no human being is educated by another person. He/She must do it themselves or it will never be done. A truly educated individual continues learning long after the hours and years he spends in the classroom because he is motivated from within by a natural curiosity and love for knowledge. Dr. Montessori felt, therefore, that the goal of early childhood education should not be to fill the child with facts from a pre-selected course of studies, but rather to cultivate his own natural desire to learn.
In the Montessori classroom this objective is approached in two ways: first, by allowing each child to experience the excitement of learning by his own choice rather than by being forced; and second, by helping him to perfect all his natural tools for learning, so that his ability will be at a maximum in future learning situations. The Montessori materials have this dual long-range purpose in addition to their immediate purpose of giving specific information to the child.