The Montessori Method
The Montessori Method of Education is the basis of our curriculum and was founded by Dr. Maria Montessori. Her philosophy of education and standards of pedagogy which have since been adopted by thousands of schools around the world. Her name has become synonymous with child development theory.
Dr Montessori believed that the child’s most crucial development stage is in the first 6 years of his life. During this period, the child has "An Absorbent Mind", taking in like a sponge the things that he is surround with. The goal of early childhood education is to cultivate the child’s natural desire to learn and absorb.
Dr Montessori believed that the child’s ability to learn is a natural process, and that children should learn by “doing” and not simply by "listening". Her philosophy stands out from those of other Early Childhood teaching theories in her belief in the Environment as the teacher
"And so we discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being. It is not acquired by listening to words, but in virtue of experiences in which the child acts on his environment." (The Absorbent Mind)
A Montessori classroom is a specially designed "prepared environment" in which his concept of "learning by doing” is manifest. It is a child-sized world in which everything is laid out in the most aesthetic and accessible way, to encourage the mental, physical and social development of a child. It aims to be a space devoid of irrelevance and inflexibility, but rather, is remarkable in its calm and orderly presentation.
In order to be calm and happy, children under six need to explore and discover. They see the world through “new” eyes and are curious about everything. Children learn by touching and manipulating objects and are keenly attuned to everything that stimulates their senses: shape, sounds, smells, textures, and tastes. They also respond to order because of their innate need to know where things belong and how pieces fit together.
Because of the absorbent mind, preschool-age children need a classroom that allows them to move, touch, manipulate and explore. It gives them the freedom to choose their own work without the interference from an adult. In this environment, they learn to work independently, based on their own initiative, which builds concentration and self-discipline.
All of the materials for each area are arranged invitingly on low, open shelves. The children have access to the materials. They may choose what they like throughout the entire open-work time, usually about three hours, and they may work for as long as the material holds their interest. When they are finished with the material, they return it to the shelf from which it came.
The materials themselves invite activity. There are bright arrays of solid geometric forms; knobbed puzzle maps metal insets and various specialized rods and blocks. Each material in a Montessori classroom isolates one quality. In this way, the concept that the child is to discover is isolated.
For example, the material known as the pink tower is made up of ten pink cubes of varying sizes. The child constructs a tower with the largest cube on the bottom and the smallest on the top. This material isolates the concept of size. The cubes are all the same color and texture; the only difference in their size.
Other materials isolate different concepts: color tablets for color, geometry for form etc. Moreover, the materials are self-correcting. When a piece does not fit or is left over, the child easily perceives the error. There is no need for adult “correction”. The child is able to solve the problem by himself, building independence, analytical thinking and the satisfaction that comes from true accomplishment.
As the child’s exploration continues, the materials interrelate and build upon each other. For example, various relationships can be explored between the pink tower and the broad stairs, which are based on precise dimensions. Even later, in the elementary years, new aspects of some of the same materials unfold. The child may, for instance, return to the pink tower and discover that its cubes progress incrementally from one cubic centimeter to one cubic centimeter.