What is Montessori? The questions I get range from “I have heard it’s structured like military school!” to “I’ve heard the children are just allowed to do whatever they want.” The reality is that once you observe a classroom full of Montessori children, you will never look at education the same.
Any school that calls itself a Montessori school, will have the same materials in the classroom. You will see the Pink Tower, the Red Rods, the Geometric Solids. What you need to know- as a parent doing research as to what is the best option for your child- is that the Montessori materials are SECONDARY to the Montessori philosophy.
The rules in a Montessori classroom are simple:
– Respect yourself
– Respect others
– Respect your environment
Children have freedom of choice (within limits). They are shown how to use materials and then free to use them without correction.
They learn through hands on work- moving from simple to complex activities.
They learn self- discipline, by observing others, and by having the freedom to choose for themselves.
Children have a natural sense of order and go through various ” sensitive periods” in their development- Montessori teachers are taught to see when that window of opportunity opens and take advantage of it to link the child to the learning they need.
Ages are mixed in a Montessori classroom so children have the chance to learn from older students, and mentor younger ones.
A Montessori education is about following the child. About letting them lead you to what they are ready to learn. They progress at their own pace and are encouraged to develop their interests.
This is just a quick, tiny bit of information about what makes Montessori, Montessori. Its so much more than just a preschool class.