Maria Tecla Artemesia Montessori
(August 31, 1870 – May 6, 1952)
Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator, a noted humanitarian and devout Roman Catholic best known for the philosophy of education that bears her name, and her writing on scientific pedagogy.
Her educational method is in use today in public and private schools throughout the world.
Birth of Montessori Education
In 1906 Montessori was invited to oversee the care and education of a group of children of working parents in a new apartment building for low-income families in the San Lorenzo district in Rome.
At first, the classroom was equipped with a teacher’s table and blackboard, a stove, small chairs, armchairs, and group tables for the children, and a locked cabinet for the materials that Montessori had developed at the Maria Pic01Orthophrenic School. Activities for the children included personal care such as dressing and undressing, care of the environment such as dusting and sweeping, and caring for the garden.
Montessori observed behaviors in these young children which formed the foundation of her educational method. She noted episodes of deep attention and concentration, multiple repetitions of activity, and a sensitivity to order in the environment.
Based on her observations, Montessori implemented a number of practices that became hallmarks of her educational philosophy and method. The children in her programs continued to exhibit concentration, attention, and spontaneous self-discipline, and the classrooms began to attract the attention of prominent educators, journalists, and public figures.
As early as 1909, Montessori’s work began to attract the attention of international observers and visitors. Her work was widely published internationally, and spread rapidly. By the end of 1911, Montessori education had been officially adopted in public schools in Italy and Switzerland, and was planned for the United Kingdom.
By 1912, Montessori schools had opened in Paris and many other Western European cities, and were planned for Argentina, Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Switzerland, Syria, the United States, and New Zealand. Public programs in London, Johannesburg, Rome, and Stockholm had adopted the method in their school systems.
Montessori Coming to India
An interest in Montessori had existed in India since 1913, when an Indian student attended the first international course in Rome, and students throughout the 1920s and 1930s had come back to India to start schools and promote Montessori education.
The Montessori Society of India was formed in 1926, and education content was translated into Gujarati and Hindi in 1927. By 1929, Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore had founded many “Tagore-Montessori” schools in India, and Indian interest in Montessori education was strongly represented at the International Congress in 1929.
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The benefits of a Montessori education are numerous. It is well worth visiting one to experience the atmosphere for yourself. The main goal of Montessori is to provide a stimulating, child oriented environment that children can explore, touch, and learn without fear.
Each child learns at his or her own pace. Teachers are understanding and encouraging, so that the child can enjoy learning, and feel happy about her path and purpose in life. Here are some of the benefits:-
Each Child valued as a unique individual
Montessori education recognizes that children learn in different ways, and accommodates all learning styles. Students are also free to learn at their own pace, each advancing through the curriculum as he is ready, guided by the teacher and an individualized learning plan.
Beginning at an early age, Montessori students develop order, coordination, concentration, and independence
Classroom design, materials, and daily routines support the individual’s emerging “self-regulation” (ability to educate one’s self, and to think about what one is learning), toddlers through adolescents.
Students are part of a close, caring community
The multi-age classroom—typically spanning 3 years—re-creates a family structure. Older students enjoy stature as mentors and role models; younger children feel supported and gain confidence about the challenges ahead. Teachers model respect, loving kindness, and a belief in peaceful conflict resolution.
Montessori Students enjoy freedom within limits
Working within parameters set by their teachers, students are active participants in deciding what their focus of learning will be. Montessorians understand that internal satisfaction drives the child’s curiosity and interest and results in joyous learning that is sustainable over a lifetime.
Students are supported in becoming active seekers of knowledge
Teachers provide environments where students have the freedom and the tools to pursue answers to their own questions.
Self-correction and self-assessment are in integral part of the Montessori classroom approach
As they mature, students learn to look critically at their work, and become adept at recognizing, correcting, and learning from their errors.
All content is published from the Amercian Montessori Society site.
Everyday, parents search to find the ideal classroom environment for their children. Their goal is to educate children, to properly prepare them for adulthood by providing a solid school foundation. Parents entrust the teacher and school to deliver curriculum, help develop their character and prepare them to be productive citizens in a democratic society.
Today, there are so many different types of school settings, which leave parents to wonder, which setting is the most ideal for their child? Two particular approaches that will be discussed are the Montessori approach and the traditional classroom setting as seen in public schools.cc
|Montessori Advantage||Conventional Advantage|
|Montessori Method provides a stimulating, active and engaging environment where a child’s interest is further strengthen||Traditional education builds upon the education taught before thus giving students a strong foundation.|
|The Montessori Method taps into the child’s passion and strengthens his or her natural development.||Through grading papers, discussion with the teacher or scores received on tests, students are provided with immediate feedback|
|The teacher acts as a “guide” and helps cultivate the child’s interest, enthusiasm, and love for education.||Multimedia, internet and other forms of technology have become incorporated into the traditional classroom setting|
|The students work at their own pace, based upon their own interest, without emphasis on competition of others||In inclusive settings, students meet a variety of students in the traditional model. This promotes awareness, understanding and empathy for students with special needs. Students learn how to intermix with students with special needs|
|Using manipulative, subjects are thought In a very concrete from then evolve to the abstract form|
Both the advantages are evaluated and end of the day, it is upto the parents to decide with a combination of all pros and cons to finalize which is the ideal methodology for their childrens’ education.
To grasp the essence of Montessori education, just step inside a classroom. Natural lighting, soft colors, and uncluttered spaces set the stage for activity that is focused and calm. Learning materials are displayed on accessible shelves, fostering independence as students go about their work.
Everything is where it is supposed to be, conveying a sense of harmony and order that both comforts and inspires. In this safe and empowering environment, students find joy in learning.
The design and flow of the Montessori classroom create a learning environment that accommodates choice. There are spaces suited to group activity, and areas where a student can settle in alone.
Parts of the room are open and spacious, allowing a preschooler to lay out strands of beads for counting, or an elementary student to ponder a 10-foot-long Timeline of Life. You won’t find the customary rows of school desks; children work at tables or on the floor, rolling out mats on which to work and define their work space. Nor are you likely to find walls papered with brightly colored images of cartoons and syndicated characters. Rather, you might see posters from a local museum, or framed photographs or paintings created by the students themselves.
There are well-defined spaces for each part of the curriculum, such as Language Arts, Math, and Culture. Each of these areas features shelves or display tables with a variety of inviting materials from which students can choose. Many classrooms have an area devoted to peace and reflection: a quiet corner or table with well-chosen items—a vase of daisies; a goldfish bowl—to lead a child to meditative thought. And always there are places to curl up with books, where a student can read or be read to.
Each classroom is uniquely suited to the needs of its students. Preschool rooms feature low sinks, chairs, and tables; a reading corner with a small couch (or comfy floor cushions); reachable shelves; and child-sized kitchen tools—elements that allow independence and help develop small motor skills. In upper-level classrooms you’re likely to see large tables for group work, computers, interactive whiteboards, and areas for science labs.
Above all, each classroom is warm, well-organized, and inviting, with couches, rugs, and flowers to help children and youth feel calm and at home.
All content is published from the American Montessori Society site.
You might see a 4-year-old boy forming words using 3-dimensional letters called “the movable alphabet.” A 2½ -year-old may be sitting by a teacher, ever-so-carefully pouring water from 1 tiny pitcher to another.
Montessori materials are appealingly designed
Throughout the room, children will be sorting, stacking, and manipulating all sorts of beautiful objects made of a range of materials and textures. Many of these objects will be made of smooth polished wood. Others are made of enameled metal, wicker, and fabric. Also available to explore are items from nature, such as seashells and birds’ nests.
How can a preschool-aged child be trusted to handle fragile little items independently? Montessori teachers believe that children learn from their mistakes. If nothing ever breaks, children have no reason to learn carefulness. Children treasure their learning materials and enjoy learning to take care of them “all by myself.”
Montessori teachers make a point to handle Montessori materials slowly, respectfully, and carefully, as if they were made of gold. The children naturally sense something magical about these beautiful learning objects.
As children carry their learning materials carefully with 2 hands and do their very special “work” with them, they may feel like they are simply playing games with their friends—but they are actually learning in a brilliantly designed curriculum that takes them, 1 step at a time, and according to a predetermined sequence, through concepts of increasing complexity.
Each learning material teaches just 1 skill or concept at a time. Built-in “control of error” in many of the Montessori materials allows the child to determine if he has done the exercise correctly.
A teacher never has to correct his work. He can try again, ask another child for help, or go to a teacher for suggestions if the work doesn’t look quite right.
Montessori materials use real objects and actions to translate abstract ideas into concrete form. Montessori learning materials are ingeniously designed to allow children to work independently with very little introduction or help.
The students are empowered to come into the environment, choose their own work, use it appropriately, and put it away without help.
When you look at Montessori materials, you are drawn to explore them with your senses. Maria Montessori believed that moving and learning were inseparable. The child must involve her entire body and use all her senses in the process of learning. She needs opportunities built into the learning process for looking, listening, smelling, touching, tasting, and moving her body.
All content is published from the Amercian Montessori Society site.
It’s often hard to spot the teacher in a Montessori classroom. She may be sitting with a preschooler next to a floor mat, arranging colored rectangles from darkest to lightest, or intently observing as a handful of elementary students dissect a leaf. She won’t be presenting information for rote learning. Rather, she’ll be demonstrating specially designed learning materials that serve as a springboard for investigation and discovery.
At the heart of the Montessori Method is the concept that mastery is best achieved through exploration, imitation, repetition, and trial and error. The teacher thoughtfully prepares a classroom environment with materials and activities that meet his students’ unique interests, academic level, and developmental needs. These he introduces to each child sequentially, laying the foundation for independent learning.
Mentor, Model, Guide
Montessori education addresses the whole child: his physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth. As well as helping each child become an independent learner, the teacher helps turn his attention outward, fostering community, collaboration, and respect for the dignity of others.
Teachers educated in the Montessori Method bring distinctive skills to the task. Their quiet orchestrations lead to magical moments as young children exclaim “I learned it myself!” – and older students think it.
Through careful observation, the Montessori teacher comes to know each student’s interests, learning style, and temperament. He understands the student’s developmental needs, and is receptive to her “sensitive periods,” when she is most ready to learn a new concept or skill.
With this information the teacher chooses materials and lessons that will capture the student’s attention and entice her to learn. When he observes that the student has mastered a concept or skill, he introduces new lessons that become increasingly complex and abstract.
The teacher serves as a resource as students go about their work. She offers encouragement, shares their triumphs, and steers them to greater understanding. She helps them advance through the curriculum as they master new skills, so they are continually challenged and eager to learn.
As students progress, the teacher modifies the classroom environment, adjusting the learning materials to meet the students’ changing needs.
A Montessori class is a close-knit community, fertile ground for nurturing the qualities that help children and youth become citizens of the world and stewards of the planet. By his own behavior and attitudes, the teacher models values such as empathy, compassion, and acceptance of individual differences. He encourages the students to be courteous and kind. And he brings students together in collaborative activities to foster teamwork, responsibility, self-discipline, and respect.
All content is published from the Amercian Montessori Society site.