Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators
"Montessori is a philosophy with the fundamental tenet that a child learns best within a social environment which supports each individual’s unique development."
ODeveloped by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 1900’s, this method of education is based on her scientific observations of young children’s behaviour. It has since flourished throughout the world as parents learn of the importance of early influences on their children’s later successes. The Montessori method is now followed in hundreds of schools around the world, and its value proven by the experiences of thousands of children who have benefited from the method in their early lives.
The Montessori method is successful because it contains four unique elements. The first element is an individual ‘whole child’ approach to education. As the primary goal of a Montessori program is to help each child reach their full potential in all areas of their lives, activities promote the development of social skills, emotional growth and physical coordination as well as cognitive preparation. The carefully prepared curriculum, under the direction of a qualified teacher, allows your child to experience the joy of learning, allows time for the process of learning and provides experiences from which children create and own their knowledge.
The second element of a Montessori education is the “prepared environment’ in which the whole learning environment – the room, the materials and social climate – is supportive of the learner. It is not enough to simply provide a room, some toys and a supervisor. All the elements which will influence and support your child are carefully planned and balanced. The materials your child will work with, the activities – both individual and group – the teacher’s support through providing learning opportunities and a safe and positive environment are all part of the overall Montessori learning environment.
The third element is the specifically designed Montessori materials. Dr. Montessori made careful observations of the things and activities children enjoy and repeatedly go back to. She used these observations to design a number of multi-sensory, sequential and self-correcting materials which facilitate the development of learning skills and lead to your child’s natural construction of knowledge. These materials help your child to discover and develop language skills, mathematical principles, the senses and to develop an awareness of the world around us.
The fourth element is the Montessori teacher. A Montessori teacher functions as the designer of the classroom experience and facilitator of your child’s learning, and is charged with the meticulous observation of your child’s learning and growth. Our teachers have both training and experience in early childhood education and Montessori methodology.
What you can expect from Montessori
The Montessori Method has been called an indirect teaching method because it neither imposes on the children nor does it abandon them in total free play. Instead, it provides a carefully planned and structured environment in which they can grow and learn in a natural way, but with the best possible opportunities for reaching their maximum potential.
The Montessori class operates on a principle of freedom within limits. Each class has its set of ground rules based on respect for each other and for their environment. A child moves freely around the Montessori classroom, working with any equipment and asking the teacher to introduce new material. A child is not free to disturb children who are working nor abuse the equipment or environment which is so important to them all.
Children are free to work at their own pace with the materials they have chosen, either alone or with others. The teacher observes each child and determines which new activities and materials to introduce with the aim to encourage active self-directed learning, and at the same time, strike a balance of individual mastery with small group collaboration for the whole class.
- Maria Montessori: The Absorbent Mind
- Maria Montessori: Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook. A short Guide to her Ideas and Materials
- Paula Polk Lillard: Montessori. A Modern Approach
- Aline D. Wolf: A Parent’s Guide to the Montessori Classroom
"The goal in education is not to increase the amount of knowledge, but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover. When we teach too fast, we keep the child from inventing and discovering for himself… teaching means creating situations where structures can be discovered."Jean Piaget