Montessori Method is developed based on scientific and pedagogical approach based on extensive observation of children. A Montessori environment is like a laboratory where the children use Montessori apparatus and gain knowledge through their own experiences. The Montessori Method gives children the opportunity to develop responsibility, respect for themselves and others through work in the prepared environment leading to self-esteem and independence. The child develops a love for learning as they build skills in concentration, organization and cooperation while working at their own individual pace and pursuing their own interests. Montessori education is unique, child-oriented, teacher-facilitated and allows the educator to treat each child as an individual.
The two key components of the Montessori Method are the prepared environment and the trained educator who prepares the environment as a nurturing place for the child, designed to meet the needs of self-construction. All Montessori classes are based on three-year cycles. There are children of three age levels in each classroom – 3 – 6, 6 – 9, 9 – 12 and 12 – 16 year old’s. Montessori philosophy is based on the growth of the child at his/her own pace and developmental level. The classroom is a carefully prepared and ordered environment to meet the developmental needs of each child. The classroom is a secure, relaxed and happy place for children to learn. Children work at their own pace in a child-centered, director-facilitated environment. Children work both individually and cooperatively to develop social responsibility and communication skills. Children choose their own work independently from the presentations they have received and through individual interests. Children begin with concrete materials and move to abstraction when they understand the concept.
A three-hour work cycle gives the children an opportunity to build concentration and independent learning skills. Transition from one stage to another is predicated upon the child’s readiness rather than chronological age. Discipline in the classroom is a balance between freedom and responsibility to develop the whole child. The atmosphere in the class is non-competitive with natural consequences instead of rewards and punishments. Montessori children, in the Montessori environment, develop a keen sense of social awareness and justice and have the opportunity to cultivate values and consideration for others through working together cooperatively.
The Teachers in a Montessori Environment are called ‘directors’ because they guide and facilitate children’s learning and experiences giving them the freedom to be independent. The director’s role is to observe the child and offer presentations that follow the child’s interests and developmental needs.
Education depends upon a belief in the power of the child and on a certainty that the child has within himself the capacity to develop into a being that is for superior to us. He will not only be capable of a better way of living but will be the only person who can show us these.
Dr. Maria Montessori