"Free the child's potential and you will transform him into the world." Dr. Maria Montessori
The Montessori method was developed, over 100 years ago, by Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician, educator and innovator. Dr. Montessori’s work with young children started in 1900. She observed children absorb knowledge from their surroundings and with the right set up children made unexpected gains. Through scientific observations and experimental teaching methods she designed learning materials and a classroom environment that fostered a children’s natural desire to learn. By 1910 the Montessori method was being used across the world.
The Montessori method is a holistic child-led educational model based on natural human development. Central to the model is the dynamic triad between the child, Guide and specially prepared environment.
The Montessori Guide
The Montessori Guide implements the philosophy and provides a link between the child and prepared environment. Through careful observations and individual program plans, qualified Montessori Guides humbly guide a child’s exploration through the prepared environment supporting their intellectual, physical, emotional and social development. All programming decisions are based on the child’s developmental stage, ability and interests.
The prepared environment
Dr. Montessori found that children naturally engage and focus on activities, educating themselves with work they spontaneously choose, if presented with a beautifully prepared environment, full of purpose and motives. Montessori materials are scientifically designed for hands-on learning. The materials are self-correcting liberating the child to take control of their learning, whilst promoting self-esteem and motivation. By exploring the materials, children develop independence and their ability to recognise, understand, correct and learn from any mistakes they may make.
The Montessori curriculum
The Montessori curriculum for preschool children consists of five avenues of learning; practical life, sensorial learning, language, mathematics and culture. Montessori materials enable children to develop a concrete foundation and prepare them for more abstract concepts as they progress through their unique developmental cycle.
Practical life skills: Children develop their gross and fine motor skills as well as eye-hand coordination. The objective of this avenue is to help the children develop skills for independent living, including care for one’s self, others and the environment.
Sensorial learning: Children develop and refine their five senses; sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. The objective of this avenue is to lay the foundation for advance learning in mathematics, science and music.
Language development: Children develop and expand their spoken language, vocabulary and phonemic awareness whilst also learning basic writing skills. When a child is ready, they progress on to learning letters, words and then sentences as well as writing.
Mathematical development: Children learn the basics of mathematical thinking enabling them to progress onto basic arithmetic; addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Culture: Children learn about a variety of aspects relating to human life on our planet, the inter-dependencies that exist and the importance of peaceful and harmonious societies. A broad range of subjects are covered in this avenue including geography, science, zoology, botany, music, art and peace education.