Principles of Montessori Education
Children brought up in the Montessori Method often perform better than their peers educated the traditional way: not only do they deliver better academic results, but they are also more self-confident, show more respect, are more open to communication and develop social skills that make it easier for them to integrate.
The desire to learn is in the child’s nature
The child learns because he is interested in a particular subject, not because he is forced to do so by the teacher.
When he truly wants to discover something, he is motivated by his own drive to apprehend, not by the promise to receive a good grade.
Child selects his activity freely, on his own
Each child is free to select the activity that is most appealing to him, out of the variety of activities on display. Since the choice is his own, he will be more interested in the activity than if it were chosen by a teacher. The will to learn and understand is driven by his own interest. The teacher only guides the child, taking care that in a certain time period he will have completed the entire curricular area.
Children are moving freely in class
Children can move from one curricular area to another. This freedom of movement is one of the key elements of Montessori’s efficiency.
It does not mean however that we let the child loose. Teacher is there to observe and step in whenever a child is not doing a useful activity or is disturbing his colleagues.
Teacher is there for the use of the children
An important feature of Montessori education is that the teacher is only there to observe. Teachers only intervene when guidance is necessary. As opposed to the traditional education system, in Montessori the teacher does not have a central role in the teaching/learning process and does not have a position of authority.
The teacher prepares the working space, supervises the children, observes each child’s individual activity and steps in only when necessary and only to guide the child.
Teacher assesses the child’s performance and monitors his progress. She presents each activity to the children and then observes how each child understood and performs. She observes how children interact between them. She creates a warm and safe atmosphere in the classroom.
She does not force the children to do any specific activity, does not give grades or deadlines.
This approach allows each child to work in the activity that is most appealing to him, without being disturbed by the teacher.
Numerous studies have proved the efficiency of this method.
Order and Discipline
Montessori system does not use punishment.
It is the teacher’s role to form a disciplined character in each of the children she cares for.
The child emerges with an inner discipline, which he himself builds as part of his personality.
The child will realize that he will be able to complete his tasks only by being disciplined, staying focused and putting his mind to work.
Order is a key element of the Montessori teaching. Children learn to keep things in order in the classroom, to return in the same spot things they took from the shelves.
This concept of order and tidiness is crucial, as children are at an age when they develop a personality which will follow them throughout their entire life.
Not using marks
The Montessori system does not use grades, diplomas or awards.
The child does not need extrinsic motivation in order to learn. When he is interested in something, he wants to understand how it works because that is what he wants, not because he is waiting for some reward. He learns, because he instinctively knows that knowledge will improve his life.
The child who learned how to walk does not expect a candy. His prize is that he can now walk.
Using rewards as means to reward the child will only develop an artificial need of acknowledgement. Later, as an adult, the child will always request peers’ appreciation for his own performances.
Child is in the center of the educational process
The teacher’s attention is directed towards the child, as opposed to the traditional method, where the teacher is the center of attention.
Acknowledging the emotional factor
The Montessori approach sets a great score to the emotional side of the children and makes sure that the learning process takes place in harmony with the emotional state of the child.
The child is being respected, guided and looked after with love
Love and respect for the child are essential when it comes to education. If a child feels loved and looked after, he will feel safe. This way, his attention can be fully directed towards intellectual and educational activities, as he does not have to worry about safety.
Interactions among children
Classes comprise children of different ages, from 3 to 6 years old.
Children learn from people around them. In the same way as home they learn from their parents and older brothers, at kindergarten interactions with other children of different ages will help them learn from each other. By letting children interact within a mixed age group, older students get a chance to be in a leadership role, and younger children can learn from their older colleagues.
Children are free to interact, as long as they do not disturb each other.
Teacher observes the interactions and must step in to establish a pleasant environment of respect among children.
Each child works at his own pace
We cannot force a standardized learning rhythm on children.
Information is acquired individually and the rhythm differs from child to child.
To enforce a uniform process would be like telling a one-year-old: „Other kids your age can already walk! You’ve got until Saturday to learn it as well! “
The Montessori Method allows each child to progress at his own pace. This way, he can check on himself, re-analyze his work, and even repeat an activity until he is content with his work.
This stands in contrast with the traditional system, where the teacher sets the rhythm of the class progress and there is a „one-lesson-fits-all“ approach.