What is Montessori Education?
Montessori education must have something unique about it, that it grew from a single preschool to a worldwide movement in the space of just 20 years. The history of this system of education dates back to 1907 when Maria Montessori an Italian physician, educator, and innovator, opened the Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House, in a low-income district of Rome. This acclaimed method of education focuses on play way learning methodologies and promotes the way children naturally learn.
Though Montessori schools opened doors more than a decade ago in India they were no more than just synonymous with the usual kindergarten or preschools. People categorically referenced to early learning or schooling done between ages of 3 to 6 years as Montessori schooling. It is only in the recent years that people began to understand the difference of Montessori education vs preschool learning. The internet and the ease to Google/Search things up aided to build awareness of this popular form of education in more recent times. This led to more parents looking for genuine Montessori schools which in turn promoted educationist to provide the right environment.
This child-centered educational approach is based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. Dr. Montessori’s Method has been time tested, with over 100 years of success in diverse cultures throughout the world. It is completely child-centric and it encourages to nurture and stimulate the natural eagerness to learn and discover in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. It is an approach that understands basic human spirit and the holistic development of the child in all areas of —physical, social, emotional, cognitive.
Self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play are core to this form of education. In Montessori classrooms children make creative choices in their learning, while the classroom and the teacher offer age-appropriate activities to guide the process. Children work in groups and individually to discover and explore knowledge of the world and to develop their maximum potential.
Montessori classrooms are artistically designed environments that cater to children of specific age groups. Dr. Maria Montessori uncovered that this kind of learning through reflection on doing in an enriched classroom environment led to a deeper understanding of concepts of language and mathematics, science and music, social interactions and much more. Montessori Materials are specifically designed to support an aspect of learning and child development, creating a match between the child’s natural interests and the available activities. Each Montessori material allows children to learn through their own experience and at their own pace. They can respond at any moment to the natural curiosities that exist in all humans and build a solid foundation for life-long learning.
Although it sounds like a very flexible form of learning it has its own discipline and structure. Montessori materials are always referred to as materials and never as toys. There is particular method in which each material is used and even stored on specific racks. A Montessori classroom is very organized and looks neat and tidy. Children need to store back the materials after use and they usually willing do so too. Lot of Montessori material use concepts from daily life which makes it easier for children to relate to things. Montessori students have a completely different approach to learning which is not monotonous yet repetitive. Specially designed Montessori learning materials provide them an opportunity to manipulate and investigate until they master the lesson inside. Montessori materials are fabricated using natural materials such as wood or fabric. You will find students usually seated on mats on the floor and the teacher can be anywhere in the classroom interacting and helping children in a very open environment. It is very rare that you will find a standard classroom sight of a teacher addressing all the kids or writing on the board to explain a concept to the students.
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