What is Montessori?
Developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the late 1800’s the now internationally renowned doctor and educator created a method of education based on her scientific observations of how children developed naturally. Dr. Montessori knew in order to best educate each individual child one must use careful observation as well as a knowledge and research of child development. A teacher must not only be a guide, as teachers are referred to in the Montessori classroom, but also an observant scientist, Dr. Montessori recogniízed that each child, in a carefully prepared environment possessed an endless ability to absorb as much knowledge as they are exposed to. This led her to proclaim that all children regardless of socioeconomic status were capable of:
- Intense concentration
- Keen observation
- A love of order and repetition
- A need to work
- Freedom within limits
- Meaningful reflection
The classroom guide has the responsibility of preparing the materials and environment which will best aid the individual child’s development. Furthermore, the guide is charged with keen observation which allows him/her to respond to the child when assistance is needed. Teacher training includes methods in how to develop the child’s independence, sense of responsibility, self-discipline, and cooperation.
At First Montessori Academy we strive to develop the whole child. Dr. Montessori said, “If education is always to be conceived along the same antiquated lines of mere transmission of knowledge, there is little to be hoped from it in the bettering of man’s future. For what is the use of transmitting knowledge I the individual’s total development lags behind?” (1949). All of our students are more than capable of learning facts and figures but it is developing those relationships between each other and the world which allows the individual to develop into a human being who uses their gifts of intelligence as well as compassion in relating to their environment.
Dr. Montessori believed her methods not only prepared the child for a successful education buy also for a successful life. This is Montessori!
Why do Traditional Schools Continue to Fail
Traditional schools have not fared well owing to the fact that the models of the child and school on which they are built – the empty vessel in the factory – fit poorly with how humans learn. The solutions Americans have devised to fix the problems in our schools repeatedly fail because they do not change these fundamental models. The educational system should instead draw on scientific study of how children learn. Taking such an approach clearly points to the value of revising these fundamental models. Dr. Maria Montessori took just such an approach in the early 20 century, and the importance of her insights is reflected in their similarity to educational principles generated by modern psychological research. Dr. Lillard’s book discusses eight of Dr. Montessori’s major insights on how people learn and develop more optimally. These insights are well supported by modern psychological research and have clear implications for more optimal ways of educating children
Eight Principles of Montessori Education
- That movement and cognition are closely entwined, and movement can enhance thinking and
- That learning and well-being are improved when people have a sense of control over their lives;
- That people learn better when they are interested in what they are learning;
- That tying extrinsic rewards to an activity, like money for reading or high grades for tests,negatively impacts motivation to engage in that activity when the reward is withdrawn;
- That collaborative arrangements can be very conducive to learning;
- That learning situated in meaningful contexts is often deeper and richer than learning in abstract contexts;
- That particular forms of adult interaction are associated with more optimal child outcomes; and
- That order in the environment is beneficial to children.