All About Montessori Preschools (page 2)
Montessori schools started in 1907 and are based on the ideas and work of Dr. Maria Montessori, one of the first women doctors in Italy. She believed that children do best in an environment where the adults in their lives consistently guide and empower them to do their own learning.
Dr. Montessori’s theories about intelligence went against the prevailing beliefs of her time, but today most educational experts agree with her. Some of her ideas, such as using child-size furniture and encouraging active learning in a multi-age setting, are fairly common now, even outside of Montessori schools. In this sense, as in many others, Dr. Montessori was ahead of her time
Basic Philosophy of Montessori Schools
Montessori teachers are facilitators and put the primary focus on the children. The children are taught to be responsible, to clean up after themselves, to help make their own snacks, and to use the toilet by themselves. Dr. Montessori believed that each child has a unique intelligence that is neither high nor low, but is composed of strengths and weaknesses, making up an individual profile.
What Makes Montessori Preschools Special?
Montessori classrooms are designed to provide children plenty of stimulation for work and projects. The Montessori approach is always a fine balance between freedom and discipline. Special features of a Montessori classroom:
- Specially designed educational materials that optimize the learning environment. In the Montessori approach beauty, order, and simplicity are highly valued.
- Children are given the freedom to move around — within acceptable limits — to encourage them to socialize with others and to interact with the Montessori materials.
- Working with mixed-age groups creates opportunities for children to develop at their own pace, socially and mentally. Younger children learn from their older peers, while the older children learn by helping their younger classmates. This also helps maintain order among the children.
A prepared environment is designed for each developmental stage and encourages a child’s abilities to unfold naturally, independent of a one-size-fits-all instructional method. In fact, contemporary early childhood educational theory is in harmony with Dr. Montessori’s methods. These include:
- Developmentally-appropriate instruction
- An integrated curriculum
- Individualized instruction
A Typical Daily Routine
A Montessori classroom is set up to make basic activities — like moving around the classroom in an orderly fashion, carrying trays holding snacks or teaching materials, and learning everyday skills — as easy as possible for the children. For example, dressing frames give children practice in:
- Lacing shoes
- Tying shoes
These practical skills also teach broader skills and habits such as concentration and independence. Similar activities are used to teach children how to take care of the environment (such as sweeping and gardening) and social skills (such as manners and negotiation).
Montessori Preschools Are a Good Choice for Children Who …
The Montessori classroom encourages individual effort, so it’s a good environment for children who:
- Can concentrate for long periods of time.
- Prefer less structure (or can adapt to less structure).
- Are comfortable being self-directed.
Learn more about other types of preschools:
Washington Virtual Academies
Tuition-free online school for Washington students.
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- Child Development Theories
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Social Cognitive Theory
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- Problems With Standardized Testing
- The Homework Debate