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The Montessori Method

by Dorotyh A. LAMUTH

 

One basic idea of the Montessori philosophy is that carried unseen within each child is the person the child will become. To develop to the fullest physical, spiritual and intellectual potential, the child must have freedom-- a freedom achieved through order and self-discipline.

To a child the world is full of sights and sounds which appear chaotic. From this chaos the child gradually creates order and learns to distinguish among the impressions which assail the senses, thus slowly gaining mastery of self and the environment.

Dr. Maria Montessori created what she called "the prepared environment." Among its features is an ordered arrangement of sequential learning materials, designed to be developmentally appropriate and aesthetically appealing. Used in the non-competitive Montessori classroom, the materials allow each child to develop at his/her own individual rate.

"Never let the child risk failure until he has a reasonable chance of success," said Dr. Montessori, understanding the need to acquire basic skills before participating in a competitive learning situation. The years between three and six are not only the prime time for laying an academic foundation, but most importantly the years when a child learns the ground rules of human behavior most easily. These are the years to help a child in preparing to take her/his place in society through the acquisition of good habits and manners.

Dr. Montessori recognized that self-motivation is the only valid impulse to learning. Children move themselves toward learning. The teacher prepares the environment, offers activities, functions as a reference person and exemplar and observer the child constantly in order to help the process of "learning how to learn." But it is the child who learns, motivated through the work itself, to persist in a chosen task.

The Montessori child is free to learn because of having slowly acquired an inner discipline from exposure to both physical and mental order. This is the core of the philosophy. Habits of concentration, perseverance and thoroughness established in the early years will produce a confident and competent learner in later years.

Montessori introduce children to the joy of learning at an early age and provides a framework in which individual and social discipline go hand in and.

The American Montessori Society emphasizes the importance of Montessori insights at all ages --for children and adults. Although traditionally in the United States children begin Montessori at age 3, the principles of self-motivated learning apply to all ages.

Some differences between Montessori and Traditional Pre-Schools

* * * * *

The goal of both Montessori and traditional pre-schools is the same: to provide learning experiences for the child. The biggest differences lie in the kind of learning experiences each school provides and the methods they use to accomplish this goal.

Montessori educators believe these differences are important because they help shape how a child learns, his work habits and his future attitudes toward himself and the world around him. (into ends)

Montessori Traditional


1- Emphasis on: cognitive &
social development

2 -Teacher has unobstrusive role in classroom

3- Environment and method encourage
self-discipline of discipline

4- Mainly individual instruction

5- Mixed age grouping

6- Grouping encourages children to teach and help each other

7- Child chooses own work

8- Child discovers own concepts from self-teaching materials teacher

9- Child works as long as he wishes on chosen project

10- Child sets own learning pace

11- Child spots own errors from feedback of material

12- Child reinforces own learning by repetition of work and internal feelings of success

13- Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration

14- Organized program for learning care of self and environment (polishing shoes, cleaning the sink, etc.)

15- Child can work where he chooses, move around and talk at will (yet, not disturb work of others); group work is voluntary

16- Organized program for parents to understand the Montessori philosophy and participate in the learning process

1- Emphasis on: social development

 

2- Teacher is center of classroom as "controller"

 

3- Teacher acts as primary enforcer of discipline

4- Group and individual instruction

5- Same age grouping

6- Most teaching done by teacher

7- Curriculum structured for child

8- Child is guided to concepts by teacher

9- Child generally allotted specific time to work

10- Instruction pace usually set by group norm

11- If work is corrected, errors usually pointed out by teacher

12- Learning is reinforced externally by repetition and rewards

13- Fewer materials for sensory development

14- Less emphasis on self-care instruction

 

15- Child usually assigned own chair; encouraged to participate, sit still and listen during group sessions

16- Voluntary parent involvement

 

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