There are numerous publications available on the market that can educate concerned parents today about Montessori and the overwhelming benefits derived from a Montessori Education. If we do not answer your question below, please contact Kaye Boehning or one of her teachers with any questions you may have.
What is Montessori?
Montessori is a philosophy with the fundamental tenet that a child learns best within a social environment which supports each individual’s unique development.
How did it begin?
Dr. Maria Montessori, the creator of what is called “The Montessori Method of Education” is based on this new education on her scientific observation of young children’s behavior. As the first woman physician to graduate from the University of Rome, Montessori became involved with education as a doctor treating children labeled as retarded. Then in 1907 she was invited to open a child care center for the children of desperately poor families in the San Lorenzo slums of Rome. She called it “A Children’s House” and based the program on her observations that young children learn best in a homelike setting, filled with developmentally appropriate materials that provide experiences contributing to the growth of self-motivated, independent learners.
Who has been a Montessori student?
It is more than just a coincidence that many people on the foremost edge of advancement and originality in our society were Montessori students, including Larry Page and Sergei Brin (founders of Google), Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon.com), and Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia). Many actors have also credited a Montessori education with their rise to fame, for example siblings Melissa and Sara Gilbert, Dakota Fanning, George Clooney, and Helen Hunt, just to name a few. There are approximately 20,000 Montessori schools in the world. Prince William and Prince Harry from Great Britain also both attended a Montessori school.
Who has supported the Montessori Education?
Mr. Rogers from “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” and Alexander Graham Bell were both strong supporters of Montessori. Thomas Edison helped found a Montessori School. President Woodrow Wilson had a Montessori school in the White House while he was in office.
How does the Montessori Education compare to other education systems?
Other education systems have also produced outstanding graduates but most of these graduates have ventured into a specific field. For example, Waldorf graduates are predominantly in the arts, and East Coast prep school graduates have primarily pursued careers in business, law, and politics. On the contrary, because most learning activities are individualized and children enjoy the freedom to explore activities to their liking, Montessori graduates have blossomed across the board, pursuing careers in computer engineering, literature, art, medicine, politics, acting, etc, at a level of success on par or exceeding that of graduates from other education systems.
What makes Montessori Education unique?
- The “whole child” approach – The primary goal of a Montessori program is to help each child reach full potential in all areas of life. Activities promote the development of social skills, emotional growth, and physical coordination as well as cognitive preparation.
- The “Prepared Environment” – In order for self-directed learning to take place, the whole learning environment-room, materials, and social climate- must be supportive of the learner. The teacher provides necessary resources, including opportunities for children to function in a safe and positive climate. The teacher thus gains the children’s trust, which enables them to try new things and build self-confidence.
- The Montessori Materials – Dr. Montessori’s observations of the kinds of things which children enjoy and go back to repeatedly led her to design a number of multi-sensory, sequential and self-correcting materials which facilitate the learning of skills and lead to learning of abstract ideas.
- The Teacher – Originally called a “Directress”, the Montessori teacher functions as designer of the environment, resource person, role model, demonstrator, record-keeper and meticulous observer of each child’s behavior and growth.
How does it work?
Tomorrow’s Promise Montessori School is the only area school with an individualized curriculum, an expectation of mastery of a concept before advancement, and a classroom designed to allow students to excel beyond grade level in their favorite subject(s).
Each Montessori class, from toddlers through high school, operates on the principle of freedom within limits. Every program has a set of ground rules which differs from age to age, but is always based on core Montessori beliefs-respect for each other and for the environment.
Students are free to work at their own pace with materials they have chosen, either alone or with others. The teacher relies on observations of the students to determine which activities and materials to introduce to an individual student, small group, or large group. The aim is to encourage active, self-directed learning and to strike a balance of individual mastery with small group collaboration within the whole group community.
The three-year-age span in each class provides a family-like grouping where learning can take place naturally. More experienced students share what they have learned while reinforcing their own learning. Because this peer group learning is intrinsic to Montessori, there is often more conversation-language experiences-in the Montessori classroom than in conventional early education settings.
How is creativity encouraged?
Creativity flourishes in an atmosphere of acceptance and trust. Montessorians recognize that each child, from toddler to teenager, learns and expresses himself in a very individual way. Music, Art, storytelling, movement and drama are part of every American Montessori program. But there are other things particular to the Montessori environment which encourage creative development: many materials which stimulate interest and involvement; an emphasis on the sensory aspect of experience; and the opportunity for both verbal and nonverbal modes of learning.
How can a “real” Montessori Classroom be identified?
Since Montessori is a word in the public domain, it is possible for any individual or institution to claim to be Montessori. But, an authentic Montessori classroom must have these basic characteristics at all levels:
- Teachers educated in the Montessori philosophy and methodology for the age level they are teaching, who have the ability and dedication to put the key concepts into practice.
- A partnership established with the family. The family is considered an integral part of the individual’s total development.
- A multi-aged, multi-graded heterogeneous grouping of students.
- A diverse set of Montessori materials, activities and experiences which are designed to foster physical, intellectual, creative and social independence.
- A schedule which allows large blocks of time to problem-solve, to see connections in knowledge and to create new ideas.
What happens when a child leaves Montessori?
Montessori children are unusually adaptable. They have learned to work independently and in groups. Since they have been encouraged to make decisions from an early age, these children are problem solvers who can make choices and manage their time well. They have also been encouraged to exchange ideas and to discuss their work freely with others and good communication skills ease the way in new settings. Research has shown that the best predictor of future success is a sense of self-esteem. Montessori programs, based on self-directed, noncompetitive activities, help children develop good self-images and the confidence to face challenges and change with optimism.