Developed from the work of Dr. Maria Montessori, this style of teaching aims at duplicating natural laws that a child faces in life. Thus the aim of the teacher is to control the environment and not the child. It was observed that children who are left free to interact with their environment developed an innate self-discipline, love for order and natural curiosity.
The Montessori Method is a way about thinking about who children are. It is a philosophy that respects the unique individuality, value, and importance of each child. This method does not compare a child to norms or standards that are measured by traditional educational systems. It is founded on the belief that children should be free to succeed and learn without restriction or criticism.
It is also an approach to education that takes to heart the needs, talents, gifts, and special individuality of each child. It is a process that helps children learn their own way at their own pace. The main concept of Montessori is to promote the joy of learning. This joy of learning develops a well adjusted person who has a purpose and direction in his or her life. Children, who experience the joy of learning, are happy, confident, fulfilled children. In essence, Montessori helps bring forth the giftedness of each child.
The Montessori method of teaching is especially suitable to the preschooler who wants to do everything by himself. Finding ways in which your child can participate in the cleaning, washing, cooking, gardening and other “adult” activities sets the perfect backdrop for the learning experience. By providing such opportunities for independ-
Montessori works in a methodical way. Each step in the process leads to the next level of learning. When a child plays, he or she is learning concepts for abstract learning. Repetition of activities is an integral part of this learning process.
For young children Montessori is a hands on approach to learning. It encourages children to develop their observation skills by doing many types of activities. These activities include use of the five senses, kinetic movement, spatial refinement, small and large motor skill coordination, and concrete knowledge that leads to later abstraction.
Artistic, cultural and scientific activities abound in the Montessori 3-6 class. There is no TV, junk food, or computer. Material is selected carefully. The child is never forced to work. Instead he is encouraged to do things that interest him, and the teacher picks up the teaching from cues given by the child. The Montessori method focuses on the child's inborn ability to learn from his surroundings. Thus the teacher aims to encourage the natural curiosity of the child. He is never forced to learn or explore.
The main goal of Montessori is to provide a stimulating, child oriented environment that children can explore, touch, and learn without fear. When the child understands why he needs to learn something, he will love the learning process. An understanding parent or teacher is a large part of this child's world. The end result is to encourage life long learning, the joy of learning, and a healthy self-esteem.
If you are interested in reading more on this topic, please read: What is Homeschooling?.