Montessori Curriculum

Why Montessorips 16

We all want our children to be happy in school and excited about learning. We also hope that our children learn how to learn and think, vital skills
they will need throughout their lives.

The world is changing rapidly and they will be entering a world doing jobs that don’t even exist yet. As Tom Friedman recently wrote in the New York Times, the job market “will require our kids not so much to find their next job as to invent their next job.”

While cultures and technologies change, the way humans come into this world and grow up in predictable stages remains constant. Montessori education specializes in guiding children through these stages of growth and helping them learn in interactive and integrative ways that unleash each child’s greatest potential.

Children find learning in a Montessori environment comfortable, enjoyable and engaging. The materials are designed to be motivating and compatible with how the brain works at each age. Children are naturally curious and inclined toward self-management: these characteristics are fostered in a Montessori classroom, developing into a work ethic that is notable among Montessori students.

Dr. Maria Montessori viewed education as not just a means of transmitting knowledge but as a way to support the full development of children as individuals and as members of a community. The Montessori classroom is a microcosm of society, made up of mixed ages and depending on empathy and cooperation to function smoothly.

Montessori vs. Traditional

Montessori

  • Child sets own learning pace to internalize information
  • Child works as long as he or she wishes on chosen project
  • Child formulates own concepts from self teaching materials
  • Teacher has unobtrusive role in classroom activities: child is an active participant in learning
  • Child chooses own work from interest and abilities
  • Mixed age grouping
  • Children are encouraged to teach, collaborate and help each other
  • Child can work where he or she is comfortable, moves around and talks at will (yet disturbs not the work of others); group work is voluntary and negotiable
  • Child spots own errors through feedback from material
  • Learning is reinforced internally through a repetition of activity and internal feelings of success
  • Instruction both individual and group, adapts to each child’s learning style
  • Environment and method encourage internal self discipline
  • Emphasis on cognitive structure and social development
  • Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration
  • Organized program for learning care of self and environment (brushing teeth, washing dishes after eating, responsible for keeping classroom clean, etc.)
  • Parental involvement and understanding Montessori learning philosophy encouraged and offered

 

Traditional

  • Instruction pace usually set by group norm or teacher
  • Child generally given specific time period for work
  • Child is guided to concepts by teacher
  • Teacher has dominant, active role in classroom activity: child is a passive participant in learning
  • Curriculum structured for children with little regard to child’s interest
  • Same age grouping
  • Most teaching is done by teacher and collaboration is discouraged
  • Child usually assigned own chair; encouraged to sit still and listen during group sessions
  • If work is corrected, errors usually pointed out by teacher
  • Learning is reinforced externally by rote repetition and rewards/discouragements.
  • Instruction both individual and group conforms to adult’s teaching style
  • Teacher acts as enforcer of discipline
  • Emphasis on rote knowledge and social development
  • Fewer materials for sensory development and concrete manipulation
  • Less emphasis on self care instruction and classroom maintenance
  • Parental involvement minimal at outside events like fundraisers and no effort placed on parental understanding of learning process.

Why Montessori Works

Movement optimizes learning.

Active bodies create active minds. Montessori learning materials offer challenging work requiring both the body and the mind.

Interest is key.

Children learn best when they are interested. Children in Montessori classrooms choose their work, so they are able to pursue their interests.

Motivation comes from intrinsic satisfaction.

Montessori teachers avoid extrinsic rewards and competition since motivation is reduced when the rewards are removed. The Montessori method nurtures a child’s love of learning and desire to contribute and help others without rewards and punishments.

Choice and control help children progress.

Montessori students choose their activities and manage their time. Students who have control over their educational experience make better decisions, exercise good judgment, and are more deeply engaged in their work.

Order, beauty and routine are important.

Montessori environments are aesthetically beautiful, tidy and organized. An attractive and dependable environment allows children to easily select and complete work and participate in maintaining the classroom.

Collaboration inspires learning.

Children in a multi-age environment learn from each other. Young children benefit from the example and guidance of older children. Up to age 6, children often prefer to work individually or in pairs. Montessori classrooms for young children are designed to accommodate this characteristic. After age 6, children are more likely to work in groups, collaborating on projects. Montessori classrooms for older children allow them to learn this way. Students solve problems by interacting with each other and listening to multiple perspectives. Montessori students have a strong sense of self, and are cooperative and supportive of each other.

Each stage of Montessori education builds on the preceding one to form a lasting foundation. An authentic and complete Montessori education, is truly a gift for life!