Having begun in Rome in 1907 with one classroom serving preschoolers, Montessori schools now exist throughout the world, come in all shapes and sizes, and serve children from infancy through secondary school. Developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, the Montessori Method is built on the premises that children learn best by doing, that they are intrinsically motivated to learn, and that given the freedom (within limits) in which to pursue their own learning, they will flourish. Today, Montessori education is recognized as the education of the future; one that develops children’s creativity, innovation, and self-efficacy as well as a strong academic foundation.
Because children in Montessori classrooms are encouraged to pursue their interests and are given long periods of uninterrupted time in which to work their perpetual curiosity and interest in learning remain intact. Because they are enabled to work collaboratively within a school environment where “grace and courtesy” is a curriculum area, they develop compassion, problem solving and conflict resolution skills, and the ability to work well with others. Because they can build a strong conceptual base of understanding and knowledge through the use of hands-on materials and real-life experiences, they see connections, experience more “ah ha! moments” and develop deep understanding and excellent school habits.
Montessori schools group children of multiple ages to enable younger children to have older role models to emulate, and afford older children more opportunities to practice their new academic and leadership skills as they guide their younger classmates.
Montessori teachers prepare the learning environment in such a way that children can be independent and successful within it. Even the very youngest children learn to care for the materials and return them in good order to their proper place on the shelf. Developing organizational skills in young children prepares them for more complex organizational thinking as they move through their schooling and into their adult lives.
Because there are two adults in the classroom, highly-trained Montessori lead teachers are able to individualize instruction for the students in their classes, frequently working one-on-one with children and constantly and thoughtfully assessing their learning and needs. The second adult in the classroom also makes it possible to allow the movement necessary for children to select work from the shelves throughout the room and then the type of workspace they want: low or standard tables, floor, individual desk, etc. Montessori children are empowered by the control they have over their learning. Indeed, studies also show that movement enhances learning by stimulating brain cells.
Children are constantly learning, from the moment of birth, through interacting with their surroundings. They use their hands, their eyes, their mouths, their knees, in short, their whole bodies to make sense of the world around them. They are curious and desperate to learn. And they are unafraid to learn, trying over and over again to grasp something or walk or learn the name of every type of dinosaur until they have met their goal. Montessori learning environments enable that inherent desire to continue and thrive.
Families in Delaware have been choosing Montessori for their children for nearly fifty years and there are Montessori schools located throughout the state. The Montessori Teachers’ Association of Delaware invites interested parents to explore the many Montessori options available. Visit www.MontessoriDE.org for more information. Montessori: an education for life.
Did you know…
Larry Page and Sergei Brin (Google founders), Julia Child, Helen Hunt (Academy Award winner), Princes William and Harry of England, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder), Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Nobel Prize winner), and Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia founder) are a few well-know people who received a Montessori education.