Where did Montessori come from?
Montessori was founded in 1907 by Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman in Italy to become a physician. She based her educational methods on scientific observation of children’s learning processes. Dr. Montessori designed a “prepared environment” in which children could freely choose from a number of developmentally appropriate activities. Now, nearly a century after Maria Montessori’s first “casa del bambini” (children’s house) in Rome, Montessori education is found all over the world, spanning ages from birth to adolescence.
The most important discovery that Dr. Montessori has contributed to the field of child development and education is the fostering of the best in each child. She discovered that children learn extraordinarily well in an environment where they are allowed to choose their work and to concentrate for as long as needed on mastering that task.
What is the difference between Montessori and traditional education?
Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses. 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.
Is Montessori good for children with learning disabilities? What about gifted children?
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. Because the philosophy is developmental, with great respect for each child’s abilities, Montessori is well suited for both gifted children and those with learning disabilities.
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.
How are Academics approached?
Work Centers – The environment is arranged according to subject area, and children are 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 the day all subjects – math, language, science, history, geography, art, music, etc., will be being studied, at all levels.
Basic Lessons – The Montessori teacher 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.
Learning Styles – All kinds of intelligences and styles of learning are nurtured: musical, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal, intra personal, intuitive, and the traditional linguistic and logical-mathematical (reading, writing, and math). This particular model is supported by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences.
Assessment – Assessment is by portfolio and the teacher’s observation and record keeping. Teachers and parents have both formal and informal assessment meetings throughout the year.