Montessori – A pedagogy based on a child’s natural development process
The Montessori Method of education was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori over 100 years ago. It is a child-centered educational approach that views the child as one who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in an adequate learning environment.
It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the child as a whole, giving him the right to lead his own growth based on his inner potential. The method has been tested and has shown worldwide success for many years and it’s still popular today. The Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), established by Maria Montessori in 1929 to protect the integrity of her work continues to uphold her vision while collaborating with contemporary research in neuroscience and child development.
The concept behind a Montessori classroom, is creating a match between available activities and the child’s natural development process. As they grow, children experience sensitive periods that are windows of opportunity where experiences have a greater impact in the development of a certain area of the brain. If you put children in a stimulating environment, they will be able to choose what attracts their attention according to their developmental needs.
The teacher, child, and environment create a learning triangle. The classroom is prepared by the teacher to encourage independence within certain limits. The child, through individual choice, makes use of what the environment offers to develop himself and interacts with the teacher when guidance is needed.
The second important aspect is multi-age classrooms which allows younger children to learn from older ones and older children to reinforce their learning by teaching something to their peers. This form of interaction mimics the real world and is beneficial for developing social skills.
The fact that this educational method lasted the test of time and has received few alterations despite scientific development in the field of education proves its worth. However there has not been a lot scientific research to evaluate exactly which aspect of the Montessori method is successful and which not.
A study made by Lillard and Else-Quest proved that children who received education in a Montessori school showed better results in social skills as well as certain academic skills. Most importantly, they felt had a more positive attitude towards school and felt a deeper sense of community.
- Hands-on learning based on real life experience
- Independence and creative freedom
- Social interactions through peer to peer learning
- Development of a permanent sense of curiosity and eagerness to learn
- A less structured curriculum which can lead to educational gaps and lower performance in standardized tests.
- Children lack routine and order in the classroom which can be something that offers them comfort
- Montessori schools are limited in number and cost a lot
- The transition of the child from Montessori education to traditional methods is often challenging and takes time for adjustment
Example of the Montessori Pedagogy environment at home :
What makes Montessori unique is the core values and goals. The focus of this method is not to educate children who score high in standardized tests, that show nothing about them as individuals. Rather it is focused on raising the child as a “whole”, giving him independence over his own life and empowering him through the opportunity to make choices and decisions based on his own inner potentials.