What makes Montessori unique: Aims and Method

Aims

  • To aid the child’s development into a complete adult human being, comfortable with herself, with her society and with humanity as a whole.
  • To foster the fullest possible development of the whole child, ultimately preparing her for life’s many rich experiences.
  • To develop in their own natural rhythm, children who are physically and mentally independent, self-confident and self-controlled, able to manage the requirements of daily life with grace, ease and effectiveness.

The Whole Child Approach

  • It is a child-centred educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood.
  • It is a view of the child as one who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child.
  • The primary goal of a Montessori programme is to help each child reach their full potential in all areas of life. Activities promote the development of social skills, emotional growth and physical coordination as well as cognitive preparation for future intellectual academic endeavours. The holistic curriculum, under the direction of a trained teacher, allows the child to experience the joy of learning, the time to enjoy the process and ensures the development of self-esteem. It provides the experiences from which children create their knowledge.

The Montessori Materials

Dr. Montessori’s observation of the kinds of things which children enjoy and go back to repeatedly led her to design a number of multi-sensory, sequential and self-correcting materials to facilitate learning. The materials are designed purposefully to help a child develop concentration, co-ordination and working habits for more advanced exercises in motor education, sensory education, linguistic skills and mathematical concepts.

The Prepared Environment

In order for self directed learning to take place, the whole learning environment –classroom, materials and social setting/atmosphere – must be supportive of the child. The teacher provides the necessary resources, including opportunities for children to function in a safe and positive environment. Together, the teacher and child form a relationship based on trust and respect that fosters self-confidence and willingness to try new things.

The Teacher

Originally called a “directress”, the Montessori teacher functions as a designer of the environment, a resource person, role model, demonstrator, record-keeper and meticulous observer of each child’s behaviour and growth. The teacher facilitates learning. The teacher remains in the background, guiding each child in the use of the materials (which are self-corrective) and then leaves the child to practise and perfect the understanding of the lesson. The teacher deals with the child as an individual worthy of respect and the only active agent in the learning process. Extensive training is required for a full Montessori credential.