Discover the Montessori Classroom
Montessori Education for Your Child
The Prepared Environment of a Montessori Classroom revolves around tangible experiences. It is designed to stimulate each child’s curiosity and instill a lifelong love of learning.
Children work at their own pace and choose their own activities. Activities are thoughtfully designed to encourage hand movements from left to right (to prepare the brain for how we read) or top to bottom (to prepare the brain for how we solve math equations).
The Prepared Environment
Practical Life is the true heart of a Montessori classroom. By working on real-life tasks, children develop their independence, coordination, and concentration, through a variety of activities that explore daily activities such as eating, dressing, and cleaning. Teachers demonstrate these tasks that explore caring for the environment and the self, encouraging responsibility and promoting self-esteem.
Sensorial Materials are designed to sharpen senses and enable deeper understanding of sensations. They help children become aware of details through, first, strongly contrasted sensations (red vs. blue), and then, through variously graded sensations (various shades of blue). Materials isolate a single quality: color, weight, shape, texture, size, sound, smell, etc., for children to train their focus.
Language experiences encourage children to master and blend sounds to build words, instead of the traditional memorization of “sight words.” This gives children the tools to read at a higher level.
Early mathematics activities are designed to transform ideas into actions, using concrete learning materials, resulting in making abstract concepts clearer to the learner. These experiences explore the underlying fundamentals of algebra, geometry, logic, and statistics, plus operational principles, such as addition, multiplication, division, and subtraction.
The Montessori Difference: What makes the Montessori method so unique? When you enter the calm, peaceful environment of a Montessori classroom, it may seem quite different from what you have come to expect from traditional educational environments.
Here are few differences you may notice:
|Traditional School||Montessori School|
|Teacher is the focus of the classroom||Teacher introduces activities to children and then lets them pursue their own interests, while observing their progress.|
|Mainly group||Mainly individual instruction
Teachers work one-on-one with children in order to ensure that they fully grasp tasks and activities.
|One subject typically studied at a time, in allotted time, in a group||Children select their own experiences, at their pace
Once children have seen the teacher demonstrate an activity at least once, they are encouraged to pursue that activity on their own, to work on figuring it out for themselves.
|Same-age grouping||Mixed-age grouping
The Primary classroom usually allows for ages 3 to 6, so children of various skill levels can work alongside each other, so that learning takes place at all different experience levels and is not limited by age.
|The teacher is in charge of lessons||Children learn from each other
In the mixed-age environment, the opportunity exists for older children who have “mastered” activities to share their knowledge with younger children; learning is enhanced by this positive exchange of experiences.
|Timed lessons, activities, and class schedules break up work flow||Child works as long as they want on chosen projects, enabling focus and concentration
Uninterrupted work times allow for a level of immersion that is difficult to achieve when lessons are timed and scheduled.
|Child errors are usually pointed out by the teacher||The teacher guides children toward self-realization and self-correction
Through repetition of activities, children learn to identify and rectify their mistakes, encouraging awareness of their abilities.
|Learning is reinforced externally by repetition and rewards||Child reinforces learning through repetition and feelings of success
The more a child works on a particular task or activity, the stronger they become, and the more confident they are in their abilities.
What you need to know about Montessori
Q: What is Montessori?
Montessori is a method and philosophy for teaching children, based on the work of pioneering educator Maria Montessori. In our school, we have children from ages 18 months through 6 years old. We offer two programs for these children, one is for toddlers (18 months to 3 years old), and the other is for older children (3 to 6 years old) which does include the “kindergarten” year. Montessori is designed to be an individualized program and is unique for each child. Montessori offers a Prepared Environment that fosters each child’s independence, as well as helps him develop socially and academically. Children are free to explore and discover on their own, however, there are very clear boundaries and ground rules that must be adhered to and are monitored by the teacher. The teacher is the first and very important part of the Prepared Environment. Montessori classrooms are thought of more as communities than classrooms. They must be cooperative in order for the method to work.
Q: How can teachers teach so many different ages:
Montessori is an individual learning method. Each child learns at their own pace. Teachers are trained to observe and assess (informally) each child to see where the child is developmentally. Based on these observations, an individual lesson is created for each child. Further, as the Montessori classroom is run as a community, older children are there to be role models and to show younger children how to do what they (the older children) already know—making them part of the teaching process. Younger children look up to the older ones and want to be like them which creates a sense of motivation to learn new things. Children, even those that are the same age, all learn at a different level and pace; the Montessori Method allows for this freedom. There is no competition or expectation for children to learn the same things as everyone else their age at exactly the same time. Teachers then find it easier to teach multiple ages than to try to teach the same concept to 15 3-year-olds at the same time. Montessori teachers are experienced at multi-tasking. Also, with mixed-age groups, children stay with the same teacher for all three years they are in Montessori enabling a close bond to be formed.
Q: How do children transition from the Montessori version of kindergarten to first grade and will you prepare my child for public school?
Children who complete the three-year cycle in a Montessori primary environment are developmentally ready to transition into the public or other private school setting. Maria Montessori discusses planes of development in her writings and has broken them down into three ages spans, birth to age 3, ages 3 to 6, ages 6 to 9, and so on. As a 6-year-old, the child is now ready to be part of a larger peer group and ready for a different level of learning. Ultimately, the goal of a Montessori program is not to get a child ready for public school, but to prepare the child for life through the experiences in the Montessori environment.