It is the child who makes the man, and no man exists who was not made by the child he once was. – Maria Montessori
The Montessori system of education, developed one hundred years ago by an inspirational educator, Dr. Maria Montessori, is one of the most progressive methods we have today. It is a unique approach which fosters children’s love and motivation for learning, encourages independence and forms a base for lifelong learning. This system offers a number of other unique benefits which can help children, not only to in this very moment, reach their potentials, but also to improve their odds for further academic experiences.
Focusing on Developmental Milestones
Children have different needs and capabilities at different ages. It is important that educational systems focus on those specific developmental stages, but still, have in perspective that some children can reach those milestones prior to others. This approach focuses on those key stages and work, for instance, with younger children on developing muscles and language, with four-year olds on fine motor skills and with older preschoolers on broadening their learning experience.
Through play, kids learn valuable life skills. Cooperative play encourages working together to solve a problem, which encourages tolerance, compassion and improves relationship skills. This method enables children to guide the activities in the classroom, to cooperatively explore and build a sense of community. The teacher does not run the classroom, instead, he/she is a part of community.
Montessori educational method is designed around the specific needs and capabilities of the children, and thus allows each child to learn at his/her own pace and explore on his/her own terms. The system is individualized for each child and it does not inflict the same learning pace for all students. The environment is adapted to the children’s needs – furniture is sized for the kids, everything is within their own reach, etc.
Though it may seem that this approach lacks discipline, because it allows children to choose their activities and design the learning process, that is far from being true. In fact, instead of preaching discipline, Montessori Method teaches kids self-discipline by setting specific ground rules which naturally refines skills like self-control, motivation and concentration.
The very fact that children are allowed to choose, change and create their activities, encourages creativity. Children work at some specific task because they want to do that and they learn to love learning itself, not because of the end result, but because of the process. This is a natural way to develop creative thinking and broaden interests. If the children are, during their education, exposed to wide variety of cultures and different ways of thinking, they are more likely to grow up to be tolerant and respective persons.
Focusing on Hands-On Learning
For children, learning abstract concepts can be extremely difficult and complicated. Montessori curriculum is, because of that, focused on concrete learning and activities which are helping kids learn math, culture, language and practical life lessons. The students are encouraged to concentrate on the specific task and understand it.
Research Supports the Benefits of this Method
A research published in 2006 in the Journal of Science examined the abilities of children who have been thought in schools where Montessori Method is applied. A professor of psychology, Dr. Angeline Lillard, found that five-year olds in Montessori schools have higher reading and math skills than their peers in public schools.
A child’s early education greatly impacts his/her entire educational process. A good start offered by Montessori Method will create a firm base for successful lifelong learning.
Have you ever considered this type of education for your kids?