What Is The Montessori Teaching Method?
Maria Montessori (1870-1952) started her work in early childhood education in 1906, and spent the remainder of her life researching and testing her methods and philosophy, and teaching throughout the world. Educated in engineering, medicine, psychology, and anthropology, she was uniquely prepared to scientifically observe the children, and to follow where those observations led.
The essential philosophy of the Montessori education method is that young children have "sensitive periods". During these periods, they can subconsciously and instinctively learn things which take great conscious efforts later in life. An example of this is the way a child learns his native language by age three without any formal instruction.
Children, from infancy, have an inner drive to touch, smell, taste, investigate, and explore their environment. If placed in an environment which is structured, a child will -through the processes of involvement and discovery- educate themselves in the most effective and efficient manner possible.
A critical element in this process is that children operate independently within the class, and the teacher acts as a guide to the environment- rather than a lecturer or bandmaster leading the group from one subject to another.
The Montessori method of education is a child centered method- rather than a teacher centered one. The teacher works with individual children, introducing materials and giving guidance where needed. One of a Montessori teacher's primary tasks is careful observation of each child in order to determine the child's needs, and to gain the knowledge she needs to best prepare the environment to aid in the child's academic growth.
The Montessori method of teaching is indirect, in that the teacher neither imposes upon the child as in direct teaching methods, nor abandons him in a non-directive, permissive manner. Rather, she is constantly alert to the direction in which the child himself has indicated he wishes to go.
Observers of Montessori children have described them as having developed independence, self-discipline, and self-knowledge- as well as an enthusiasm for learning and an organized approach to problem solving.
An excellent example of Montessori educated adults, and the difference a Montessori education can make in a person's life are the creators of Google: They have attributed their success -in part- to going to a Montessori school as children, because the knowledge and skills they learned there taught them to solve problems more creatively, and to think outside of the box.
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JEREMIAH 29:11 -
"For I Know the plans I have for you'
declares The Lord,
'plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and future"