What is Montessori Education?
Maria Montessori, Italy 1952.
Developed more than a century ago, Montessori is an educational philosophy based on the work and observations of Dr. Maria Montessori. Based on the principles of independent discovery, hands on learning, and a respect for the learning pace of each individual child, the Montessori method serves children from birth through adolescence in schools all over the world.
The method recognizes that the mind of a child during the first six years of life is especially absorbent. Guided by universal developmental periods, children acquire order, controlled movement, spoken and written language, refinement of their senses, and mathematical thinking almost effortlessly. The method highlights the crucial importance of providing children with a rich and diverse learning environment suited to their natural needs in order for them to develop to their highest potential.
A Montessori Environment, USA 1927.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why should I send my child to a Montessori school?
A. Most educators and psychologists today agree that the single most important period in the development of a persons' intelligence occurs between birth and age six. A child's mind is extremely absorbent and his curiosity is at a peak during these early years. When properly nourished and stimulated, the child's mind forms patterns for learning that will serve him well throughout his life. The Montessori system of education has proven to be one of the most effective and fastest growing methods of guiding a child through these critical years.
Q. Who is the Montessori method designed for?
A. The Montessori method is an approach to learning and as such has no distinctions of class or intelligence. It has been used successfully in all parts of the world and in all types of programs, i.e. Head-start, gifted children, children with disabilities, public school, etc.
Q. What is the best age to start a child in a school?
A. Maria Montessori outlined various periods of sensitivity. During these times a child is more capable of and interested in learning specific concepts. At age 3 a special sense of order, concentration, coordination and independence begin to emerge. This time is ideal to begin a child's training in Montessori as he is at the perfect period to build a strong foundation for future learning.
Q. How is a Montessori preschool different from other preschools?
A. In most preschools, children are taught educational concepts in a group and are expected to all learn at the same pace. In a Montessori classroom, the children are given individual lessons with each material. The special nature of the materials allow the children to continue to practice the lesson independently until the lesson is mastered. The adult stands back and observes the children making their own discoveries with the material and records their progress. Children can advance very quickly through the different curriculum areas when they are not limited in their learning. A slower learning pace is also respected and the child is observed by the teacher and she may isolate his difficulty and re-present the lesson in different ways until the child has mastered it. Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading.
Montessori education places children in three-year age groups (3-6, 6-9, 9-12, and so on), forming communities in which the older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger ones.
Q. How do children transition from Montessori into other schools?
A. Montessori children are unusually adaptable. They have learned to work independently and in groups. Since they have been encouraged to make decisions from an early age, these children are problem-solvers who can make choices and manage their time well. They have also been encouraged to exchange ideas and to discuss their work freely with others and good communication skills ease the way in new settings. Research has shown that the best predictor of future success is a sense of self-esteem. Montessori programs, based on self- directed, noncompetitive activities, help children develop good self-images and the confidence to face challenges and change with optimism.
Q. Are Montessori children successful later in life?
A. Research studies show that Montessori children are well prepared for later life academically, socially, and emotionally. In addition to scoring well on standardized tests, Montessori children are ranked above average on such criteria as following directions, turning in work on time, listening attentively, using basic skills, showing responsibility, asking provocative questions, showing enthusiasm for learning, and adapting to new situations.
Q. Is Montessori good for children with learning disabilities? What about gifted children?
A. Montessori is designed to help all children reach their fullest potential at their own unique pace. A classroom whose children have varying abilities is a community in which everyone learns from one another and everyone contributes. Moreover, multi-age grouping allows each child to find his or her own pace without feeling "ahead" or "behind" in relation to peers.
Famous people who have attended Montessori School...
Larry Page and Sergey Brin - founders of Google
Jeff Bezos - founder of Amazon.com
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis - former First Lady (John F. Kennedy)
Julia Child - author, chef, TV cooking shows
Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Nobel Prize winner for Literature
Katherine Graham - ex-owner of the Washington Post
Anne Frank - author, diarist from World War II
Prince William and Prince Harry, English royal family
Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia
George Clooney, Academy Award-winning actor
What the World is saying about Montessori...
Montessori Madness- Introductory video of Montessori Education
Google Founders Talk Montessori, CBS 60 Minutes
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN- "Children Prosper under the Montessori Method"
BBC NEWS- "Learning the Montessori Way"
THE NEW YORK TIMES- "Public Schools Stake their Future on the Montessori Way"
THE WASHINGTON POST- "Montessori, Now 100, Goes Mainstream"
Beautiful Sun Montessori School
Balashi Web 6, Aruba