Salem Montessori - We Grow Learners
What is Montessori?
Montessori isn’t so much a “what” as it is a “who” question. Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was Italy’s first female physician. She developed her method of education based on clinical observations on how children learn. She discovered the children’s effortless ability to absorb knowledge from their surroundings, a tireless interest in manipulating materials, and an inborn desire to learn and do meaningful work. In 1907, she founded a school using child-centered methods and equipment based on her observations. Montessori’s work continues today in public and private schools throughout the world.
In the Children’s House classes there is a family-like atmosphere, with the older children serving as role-models for the younger children. In this multi-age setting, the children learn from each other, and because of each other. The Montessori-trained teachers ensure that experiences occur naturally and joyfully at the proper moment for each child.
What type of learning style is Montessori?
Montessori schools aim to create a calm, child-centered learning environment with an emphasis on personal responsibility. Children are encouraged to take care of their own belongings and personal needs, such as cleaning up after themselves and preparing their own snacks. Schools aim to foster a healthy self-esteem and sense of independence, allowing children to make their own choices and teaching them basic skills like pouring themselves a glass of milk or putting their shoes on the right feet.
Learning moves from concrete to abstract, from the big picture to small. The child makes the connection or abstraction when he or she is ready. Teachers at a Montessori preschool serve primarily as guides to discovery rather than providing direct instruction. The teacher makes a connection between the instructional materials, and the children literally self-teach many skills, in independent activity.
Children can choose their own work, but it does not mean there isn’t any structure. The classroom is very structured in its design and in how a lesson is taught. However, the child is given the freedom to learn how to make choices and do work that is engaging to him or her.