Traditional Montessori Materials in the Infant/Toddler Environment
For a list of Montessori schools, see List of Montessori schools. The Montessori Method of education, developed by Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational approach based on traditional Montessori Materials in the Infant/Toddler Environment observations of children from birth to adulthood. Montessori’s Method has been used for over 100 years in many parts of the world.
The Montessori method views the child as one who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. It attempts to develop children physically, socially, emotionally and cognitively. 18 year-old classrooms exist as well. Student choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options.
Uninterrupted blocks of work time, ideally three hours. A constructivist or “discovery” model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction. Specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators often made out of natural, aesthetic materials such as wood, rather than plastic. A thoughtfully prepared environment where materials are organized by subject area, within reach of the child, and are appropriate in size.
Freedom of movement within the classroom. A trained Montessori teacher who follows the child and is highly experienced in observing the individual child’s characteristics, tendencies, innate talents and abilities. Following her medical training, Maria Montessori began to develop her educational philosophy and methods in 1897, attending courses in pedagogy at the University of Rome and reading the educational theory of the previous two hundred years. While, visiting an asylum, during her schooling with a teacher, she used her observations of mistreatment of the kids there, especially those with autism, to create her new form of education.
In 1907, she opened her first classroom, the Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House, in a tenement building in Rome. From the beginning, Montessori based her work on her observations of children and experimentation with the environment, materials, and lessons available to them. She frequently referred to her work as “scientific pedagogy”. They found many matching points between their work. Maria Montessori was invited to hold her first course for teachers and to set up a “Casa dei Bambini” at Villa Montesca, the home of the Franchettis in Città di Castello. Montessori education had spread to the United States by 1912 and became widely known in educational and popular publications. However, conflict arose between Montessori and the American educational establishment.
The 1914 critical booklet The Montessori System Examined, by influential education teacher William Heard Kilpatrick, limited the spread of her ideas, and they languished after 1914. Montessori education also spread throughout the world, including Southeast Asia and India, where Maria Montessori was interned during World War II. A Montessori classroom in the United States. Montessori education is fundamentally a model of human development, and an educational approach based on that model. The model has two basic principles.
First, children and developing adults engage in psychological self-construction by means of interaction with their environments. Second, children, especially under the age of six, have an innate path of psychological development. Montessori saw universal, innate characteristics in human psychology which her son and collaborator Mario Montessori identified as “human tendencies” in 1957. In the Montessori approach, these human tendencies are seen as driving behavior in every stage of development, and education should respond to and facilitate their expression.
Montessori education involves free activity within a “prepared environment”, meaning an educational environment tailored to basic human characteristics, to the specific characteristics of children at different ages, and to the individual personalities of each child. Montessori observed four distinct periods, or “planes”, in human development, extending from birth to 6 years, from 6 to 12, from 12 to 18, and from 18 to 24. She saw different characteristics, learning modes, and developmental imperatives active in each of these planes, and called for educational approaches specific to each period. The first plane extends from birth to around six years of age. During this period, Montessori observed that the child undergoes striking physical and psychological development. The first-plane child is seen as a concrete, sensorial explorer and learner engaged in the developmental work of psychological self-construction and building functional independence.
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Montessori introduced several concepts to explain this work, including the absorbent mind, sensitive periods, and normalization. Montessori described the young child’s behavior of effortlessly assimilating the sensorial stimuli of his or her environment, including information from the senses, language, culture, and the development of concepts with the term “absorbent mind”. She believed that this is a power unique to the first plane, and that it fades as the child approached age six. Finally, Montessori observed in children from three to six years old a psychological state she termed “normalization”.
Normalization arises from concentration and focus on activity which serves the child’s developmental needs, and is characterized by the ability to concentrate as well as “spontaneous discipline, continuous and happy work, social sentiments of help and sympathy for others. The second plane of development extends from around six years to twelve years old. During this period, Montessori observed physical and psychological changes in children, and developed a classroom environment, lessons, and materials, to respond to these new characteristics. Physically, she observed the loss of baby teeth and the lengthening of the legs and torso at the beginning of the plane, and a period of uniform growth following.
The third plane of development extends from around twelve years to around eighteen years of age, encompassing the period of adolescence. Montessori characterized the third plane by the physical changes of puberty and adolescence, but also psychological changes. The fourth plane of development extends from around eighteen years to around twenty-four years old. Montessori wrote comparatively little about this period and did not develop an educational program for the age. She envisioned young adults prepared by their experiences in Montessori education at the lower levels ready to fully embrace the study of culture and the sciences in order to influence and lead civilization. In short, four core aspects of montessori school include, practical life, sensorial, math, and language arts. Some smaller aspects that could be integrated into montessori schools include geography, art, and gardening.
As Montessori developed her theory and practice, she came to believe that education had a role to play in the development of world peace. She felt that children allowed to develop according to their inner laws of development would give rise to a more peaceful and enduring civilization. She received a total of six nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize in a three-year period: 1949, 1950, and 1951. Elementary Montessori peace curriculum starts with Five Great Lessons that give a big picture of the world and life. They are educational stories that also spark the imagination of the students. The Five Great Lessons are – The Beginning of the Universe and Earth, Life Comes to Earth, Human Come to Earth, How Writing Began, and How Numbers Began. It is important to not rush through them and give time for research in between.
Montessori classrooms for children under three fall into several categories, with a number of terms being used. Italian for “nest”, serves a small number of children from around two months to around fourteen months, or when the child is confidently walking. Both environments emphasize materials and activities scaled to the children’s size and abilities, opportunities to develop movement, and activities to develop independence. 3 to 6 years old are often called Children’s Houses, after Montessori’s first school, the Casa dei Bambini in Rome in 1906. This level is also called “Primary”. A typical classroom serves 20 to 30 children in mixed-age groups, staffed by fully trained teachers and assistants.
Activities in Children’s Houses are typically hands on, tactile materials to teach concepts. For example, to teach writing, students use sandpaper letters. These are letters created by cutting letters out of sandpaper and placing them on wooden blocks. The children then trace these letters with their fingers to learn the shape and sound of each letter. Another example is the use of bead chains to teach math concepts, specifically multiplication.
6- to 12-year-old groups are also used. Lessons are typically presented to small groups of children, who are then free to follow up with independent work of their own as interest and personal responsibility dictate. Montessori educators give interdisciplinary lessons examining subjects ranging from biology and history to theology, which they refer to as “great lessons. Lessons include work in language, mathematics, history, the sciences, the arts, etc.
Student-directed explorations of resources outside the classroom are integral to the education. Montessori used the term “cosmic education” to indicate both the universal scope of lessons to be presented, and the idea that education should help children realize the human role in the interdependent functioning of the universe. Montessori education for this level is less well-developed than programs for younger children. Montessori did not establish a teacher training program or a detailed plan of education for adolescents during her lifetime. However, a number of schools have extended their programs for younger children to the middle school and high school levels. 18 are set in rural locations. A 2006 study published in Science magazine found that “when strictly implemented, Montessori education fosters social and academic skills that are equal or superior to those fostered by a pool of other types of schools.
Some studies have not found positive outcomes for children in Montessori classrooms, but this might be due to the implementation of Montessori. For example, a 2005 study in a Buffalo public Montessori magnet school “failed to support the hypothesis that enrollment in a Montessori school was associated with higher academic achievement. Therefore, in the United States and most other countries, the term can be used freely without giving any guarantee of how closely, if at all, a program applies Montessori’s work. The ruling has led to “tremendous variation in schools claiming to use Maria Montessori’s methods. With the development of mobile touchscreen devices, several Montessori activities were made into mobile apps for children. What are phonograms and how they are taught to children”.
The Human Tendencies and Montessori Education. Montessori Today: A Comprehensive Approach to Education from Birth to Adulthood. Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work. The Four Planes of Development: A Constructive Rhythm of Life”. The Five Great Lessons for Montessori Elementary: An Introduction and Lesson Idea List”.
Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius. New York, New York: Oxford University Press. CD356-Hansen, Curriculum Development for Early Childhood-Montessori”. Montessori Letter Sounds:Another Winning App from Les Trois Elles”. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Montessori schools. This page was last edited on 22 April 2018, at 17:54.
Montessori’s methods had traveled all over the world and she had even certified teacher trainers to train teachers. But because there were was no oversight in these first training centers, the courses were shortened and the miracles that had been discovered in the Casa dei Bambini were no longer occurring. Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel. The schedule: “The Three-hour Work Period”. 3-hour, uninterrupted, work period each day not interrupted by group activity.
The “3-hour Work Period” is vital to the success of Montessori education and often misunderstood. It means that children have three hours to choose and carry out their own work. There is constant interaction, problem solving, child to child teaching, and socialization. Children are challenged according to their ability and never bored. Work centers: The environment is arranged according to subject area, and children are always free to move around the room instead of staying at desks. There is no limit to how long a child can work with a piece of material.
At any one time in a day all subjects — math, language, science, history, geography, art, music, etc. Teaching method: “Teach by teaching, not by correcting”. There are no papers turned back with red marks and corrections. Instead the child’s effort and work is respected as it is. The teacher, through extensive observation and record-keeping, plans individual projects to enable each child to learn what he needs in order to improve.
Rather than lecturing to large or small groups of children, the teacher is trained to teach one child at a time, and to oversee thirty or more children working on a broad array of tasks. Basic lessons: The Montessori teacher spends a lot of time during teacher training practicing the many lessons with materials in all areas. She must pass a written and oral exam on these lessons in order to be certified. She is trained to recognize a child’s readiness according to age, ability, and interest in a specific lesson, and is prepared to guide individual progress. Areas of study: All subjects are interwoven, not taught in isolation, the teacher modeling a “Renaissance” person of broad interests for the children. A child can work on any material he understands at any time. This is possible because the children stay in the same group for three to six years and much of the teaching comes from the children and the environment.
This particular model is backed up by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. Assessment: There are no grades, or other forms of reward or punishment, subtle or overt. Assessment is by portfolio and the teacher’s observation and record keeping. The test of whether or not the system is working lies in the accomplishment and behavior of the children, their happiness, maturity, kindness, and love of learning and level of work.
Requirements for age 0-6: There are no academic requirements for this age, but children are exposed to amazing amounts of knowledge and often learn to read, write and calculate beyond what is usually thought interesting to a child of this age. Requirements for ages 6-18: The teacher remains alert to the interests of each child and facilitates individual research in following interests. There are no curriculum requirements except those set by the state, or college entrance requirements, for specific grade levels. These take a minimum amount of time. Character education: Education of character is considered equally with academic education, children learning to take care of themselves, their environment, each other – cooking, cleaning, building, gardening, moving gracefully, speaking politely, being considerate and helpful, doing social work in the community, etc.
You may use anything from this site for educational purposes, including academic papers, citing “with permission of The International Montessori Index, www. Maria Montessori, the first woman in Italy to become a physician. She based her educational methods on scientific observation of children’s learning processes. Guided by her discovery that children teach themselves, Dr. Montessori designed a “prepared environment” in which children could freely choose from a number of developmentally appropriate activities. Where can I find a good, brief, introduction to Montessori from birth through the school years?
At the Michael Olaf Montessori “text”site, which is actually an E-book of Montessori philosophy and practice: www. What is the difference between Montessori and traditional education? Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning.
Can I do Montessori at home with my child? Yes, you can use Montessori principles of child development at home. Look at your home through your child’s eyes. Children need a sense of belonging, and they get it by participating fully in the routines of everyday life. Help me do it by myself” is the life theme of the preschooler. Can you find ways for your child to participate in meal preparation, cleaning, gardening, caring for clothes, shoes, and toys? At the school level many homeschooling and other parents use the Montessori philosophy of following the child’s interest and not interrupting concentration to educate their children.
In school only a trained Montessori teacher can properly implement Montessori education, using the specialized learning equipment of the Montessori “prepared environment. Here social development comes from being in a positive and unique environment with other children — an integral part of Montessori education. Is Montessori good for children with learning disabilities? Montessori is designed to help all children reach their fullest potential at their own unique pace. A classroom whose children have varying abilities is a community in which everyone learns from one another and everyone contributes.
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Moreover, multiage grouping allows each child to find his or her own pace without feeling “ahead” or “behind” in relation to peers. There are more Montessori programs for ages 3-6 than for any other age group, but Montessori is not limited to early childhood. Are Montessori children successful later in life? Research studies show that Montessori children are well prepared for later life academically, socially, and emotionally. In addition to scoring well on standardized tests, Montessori children are ranked above average on such criteria as following directions, turning in work on time, listening attentively, using basic skills, showing responsibility, asking provocative questions, showing enthusiasm for learning, and adapting to new situations. I recently observed a Montessori classroom for a day. I was very very impressed, but I have three questions.
Any help you give me would be appreciated. Montessori opened the first Children’s House it was full of pretend play things. The children never played with them as long as they were allowed to do real things – i. Like learning how to handle a good violin and then playing music.
It is not considered “creative” to use a violin as a hammer, or a bridge while playing with blocks. We consider it “creative” to learn how to use the violin properly and then create music. The same goes for the materials in a Montessori classroom. Also, since concentration is protected above all, as all “work” is respected, children learn early on not to interrupt someone who is concentrating. How do I find Montessori schools in my area?
There are thousands of Montessori schools in the world, and three ” list links at this site: www. If his doesn’t help you, look in your phone book, get the literature of local schools, observe, and compare what you learn with you read on this site. Who accredits or oversees Montessori schools? Unfortunately, there is no way to limit the use of the name “Montessori. Parents must carefully research, and observe a classroom in operation, in order to choose a real Montessori school for their child. There are several Montessori organizations to which schools can belong. Because all Montessori schools are operated independently of one another, tuitions vary widely.
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Also the cost of living in a particular area accounts for the very wide range in tuitions. Median annual tuition by age level follow. Median” means that they can be lower and much higher in some places, depending on the cost of living. NOTE: these figures are several years old and may not apply today. Also keep in mind that there are many Montessori programs in public schools, which charge no tuition at all to students within their district. What is the best way to choose a Montessori school for my child? Ask if the school is affiliated with any Montessori organization.
Ask what kind of training the teachers have. Visit the school, observe the classroom in action, and later ask the teacher or principal to explain the theory behind the activities you saw. Most of all, talk to your child’s prospective teacher about his or her philosophy of child development and education to see if it is compatible with your own. How many Montessori schools are there?
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We estimate that there are at least 4,000 certified Montessori schools in the United States and about 7,000 worldwide. Some are, but most are not. Some Montessori schools, just like other schools, operate under the auspices of a church, synagogue, or diocese, but most are independent of any religious affiliation. Approximately 200 public schools in the U. Canada offer Montessori programs, and this number is growing every year.
What does it take to start a Montessori school? The essential element of any Montessori school is the fully-trained Montessori teacher. A good starting point is a group of parents who want Montessori for their children. The next step is to look into state and local requirements for schools, such as teacher training, facilities, class size, etc. Selecting a site and making sure it meets applicable building codes is also an early part of the process. Under the age of six, there are one or two 3-hour, uninterrupted, work periods each day, not broken up by required group lessons. Older children schedule meetings or study groups with each other the teacher when necessary.
Adults and children respect concentration and do not interrupt someone who is busy at a task. Groups form spontaneously or are arranged ahead by special appointment. They almost never take precedence over self-selected work. There is constant interaction, problem solving, child to child teaching, and socialization.
Children are challenged according to their ability and never bored. There is no limit to how long a child can work with a piece of material. At any one time in a day all subjects — math, language, science, history, geography, art, music, etc. Instead the child’s effort and work is respected as it is. The teacher, through extensive observation and record-keeping, plans individual projects to enable each child to learn what he needs in order to improve. Rather than lecturing to large or small groups of children, the teacher is trained to teach one child at a time, and to oversee thirty or more children working on a broad array of tasks.
She must pass a written and oral exam on these lessons in order to be certified. She is trained to recognize a child’s readiness according to age, ability, and interest in a specific lesson, and is prepared to guide individual progress. A child can work on any material he understands at any time. This is possible because the children stay in the same group for three to six years and much of the teaching comes from the children and the environment. This particular model is backed up by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences.