Last modified: April 5, 2017
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The Montessori method of education is an avant-garde in which the children are observed and supported in their natural development. This system was created by Maria Montessori, a physician from Italy.
Her deep observations and study of children and their activities led her to the conclusion that a child’s personality is built on the type of interaction the child has with the environment. The Montessori educational practice developed by her aids children develop creativity, problem-solving, critical-thinking and time-management skills, to add value to the society and the environment in which they live, and to fulfil their goals in life.
The Montessori practice in the classroom is characterised by a mixed age group of children, from three to six age groups in the same classroom. Other features are the options available to each child to carry out their own choice of research and work without any interruptions from the teachers for according the maximum concentration. As this system builds on the individual education, there are no group lessons taught in the classroom.
The main approach of the Montessori is in employing education as a support to life. This is made possible and effective by employing the principles of the Montessori approach in accord with the natural development stages of the child. The adult supervising the Montessori classroom are trained to provide the freedom and opportunities to the children in the “prepared environments” to choose and carry out their own work, at their pace.
Specially designed materials are used for the children’s use in their quest for learning and developing skills in their subjects such as language, mathematics, sensorial development or in activities related to their everyday life. The mixed age groups contribute to the development of a healthy social atmosphere for developing their social skills within the protected environment.
The concepts that have been touched on here like the prepared environment, the aspect of freedom and the mixed age groups are common across all four developmental planes, although the practice would vary widely to take into account the stage of development the child is in.
Madame Montessori introduced a pragmatic and attested scientific method for eliciting the finest attributes in children. Individualism, respect for individuality, social interaction and educating through personality development rather than teaching a specific body of knowledge are the basis of the Montessori method. Because this method caters to each individual in the class room, the practice is constantly changing and always au fait as the observations and satisfaction of needs are specific for each child.
Although there is a view that the children from Montessori schools exhibit a high level of academic achievement and the Montessori method of education is a model which serves the needs of children of all levels of mental and physical ability, parents tend to be confused and hesitate to place their children in Montessori schools, in these days of a weak economy and the increasing pressure of the government on schools to follow a state-mandated curriculum and prepare students for state-prescribed tests.
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