The Montessori method of education was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori over 100 years ago. Since its inception, it has seen a great deal of success in countries all over the world. The central idea behind this educational method is that children are naturally eager to learn, and they will initiate this process on their own when placed in a supportive and carefully designed learning environment. Moreover, this approach strives to be as holistic as possible, incorporating the values of the human spirit and the complete development of the child — physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively.
While there are many principles that constitute a Montessori education, we would like to share with you some of the most central principles in today’s article. Learn more about Omaha Montessori Educational Centers, our locations, and contact us today to schedule a tour of one of our schools.
Below are some of the key principles of a Montessori education.
Educating for Human Development
Montessori students are shown at an early age that they are a part of a caring community. From the start, we want children to identify with their community and take pride in their potential to impact all the communities to which they belong. The Montessori method looks at education as a release of potential from within, not as something being poured in. To this end, a Montessori education calls for students to understand and champion values like peace, community, honesty, justice, equality, compassion, and understanding.
Students Are Individuals
At Montessori schools, traditional grading, assessments, and standardized tests are not common. Instead, students are treated as individuals with various learning styles and paces. If a student is two years behind a peer in one subject, but three years ahead in another, the Montessori method does not seek to correct this, but rather use this as a guide for determining a student’s inherent strengths, while still trying to ignite a child’s curiosity and exploration. Montessori students are encouraged to advance through a curriculum as they are ready, and the teacher is there to guide them along this individualized learning path.
The Role of Experience
In Montessori daycares and early childhood development centers, students learn through the senses and in having direct experiences. Everything is based on hands-on experiences that enrich the child. This approach continues through to the elementary school years, where students are encouraged to apply knowledge to real-world experiences.
Life is vast, complex, and full of wonder. This is something that is key to the Montessori educational process. The approach aims to excite students about the world around them and encourage them to always take a holistic approach to life. To say this another way, the ageofmontessori.org states that Montessori elementary teachers creating “a vision of the entire universe so that all subjects have a place in the whole eliminates the fragmentation many children experience in seemingly random subjects they are required to study.”
New Role of Educators
It would probably be more appropriate to call Montessori teachers “guides.” Their role is not to lecture and dispense the same information to all students. Rather, Montessori teachers are skilled observers and creative facilitators who quietly guide students, which often leads to young learners rejoicing and proclaiming, “I learned it all by myself!” As the students progress, the teacher’s role is to modify the learning environment to meet the changing needs of the student. Also, the role of the teacher in a Montessori school is to address all the parts of the child and push to turn the student’s attention outward, helping to teach them to respect others, to collaborate, and to contribute more to the whole.
Honoring Freedom of Choice
A Montessori education calls for meaningful opportunities for choice at all points in the learning process. Students are, of course, not given complete and total reign. They are required to work within parameters set by teachers. However, unlike a traditional school, Montessori students play a very active role in deciding what their focus will be. The child’s innate curiosities and interests are ultimately what drives their learning. Everything from the teachers to the materials of the facility is geared toward creating an environment where students have the freedom and tools to get the answers to their own questions through carefully prepared materials with a built-in self-correction. Over time, this approach helps build self-discipline, and it arms students with a perpetual curiosity about the world around them. This is something that can go on to propel and benefit students throughout the rest of their lives.
Ready to see a Montessori daycare, preschool, or elementary school in action? We’re ready to show you! Contact us today at 402-281-9839 to schedule a tour of one of our seven Educational Centers throughout the Omaha area. We have facilities and programs tailored to children from 6-weeks old to 12-years old.