The Montessori Method was discovered by Maria Montessori and has been utilized for over a century with outmost success all around the world. According to Dr. Montessori, the child is always eager to learn. We prepare a safe and well looked after environment where the children are free to explore and learn by their own experiences.
Each environment has a range of activities that cover all aspects of the child development, intellectual, physical and social. There are 5 areas of learning. The Exercises of Practical Life help the child adapt to his environment and refine his coordination of movement. By doing these activities, the child develops handeye coordination and the capacity to focus their attention for the entirety of an activity.
The successful completion of such tasks give children a real sense of their own achievement, and this builds their self confidence. These activities include exercises for the care of person (i.e washing hands, dressing frames); care of environment (i.e. dusting, sweeping, social behavior activities); elementary movements (i.e.how to open and close a bottle, fold or roll a mat etc) and grace and courtesy activities (i.e. greetings, walking on the line).
The child who comes to the Montessori Environment at 2 1/2 has taken a wealth of impressions. They have sensorial impressions of colours, size, shapes but they are in chaotic manner. At this age the child is in the process of classifying impressions and it is then that we offer the Sensorial Material. We provide a means to give order and system for whatever he has already taken in. We provide exact, precise impressions for his Absorbent Mind to absorb and classify.
When we classify, we sort out things into groups under various categories: taste, smell, colour, temperature, etc. The Sensorial material is designed to materialize one particular physical property, i.e. the colour tablets isolate the colour. The same way we have material for dimensions, shapes (visual sense), poise and musical sounds (acoustic sense), texture (tactile sense), temperature (thermic sense).
The Sensorial Material stimulates and develops the senses, refining the child's power of observation, perception, exploration and communication. And helps the child prepare himself for other developmental activities like language, geometry, arithmetic and writing.
Since the child join us, there is always an emphasis on correct language and enrichment of vocabulary emphasizing the development of vocabulary based on real experiences. The children are exposed to each sound of the alphabet and at the same time, they trace with their finger the letter, preparing them for writing. Through the 'I Say Game', the children learn that words are where they can find out these sounds. They become aware of the first sound, the last sound and the sound in between. The children begin to make phonetic words with the movable alphabet even before they can hold a pencil and write.
Having traced sandpaper letters for a very long time the children begin to write on a slate almost on their own. Mathematical concepts are imbibed from the age of 2 1/2, a huge bowl of rajma divided into three smaller parts, a napkin folded into quarters, what is more, what is less.
Montessori treats Mathematics as a whole. We take one difficulty at the time. We always present any idea with the concrete first and then it becomes less concrete till it goes to the abstract. Montessori presents Mathematics as something to enjoy and explore not just for the end result.
Each Montessori Environment has a mixed age group. The younger children learn from watching the older ones and the older ones gain confidence and reinforce their knowledege by sharing their experiences with the younger onces. The role of the Montessori adults also differs from the role of teachers in other schools.
Maria Montessori says that "Education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being. It is not acquired by listening to words, but in virtue of experiences in which the child acts on his environment. The teacher's task is not to talk, but to prepare and arrange a series of motives for cultural activity in a special environment made for the child".
Maria Montessori - 1870 to 1952
Dr Maria Montessori was born in 1870 and she was the first woman to practice medicine in Italy. As a doctor, she was in touch with young children and become profoundly interested in their development.
Maria Montessori realized, by careful and exhaustive observation, that children construct their own personalities as they interact with their environment. Her interest in children and education led her to open a children's school in 1907 in the slums outside Rome. She was focused on teaching the students ways to develop their own skills at a pace they set, creating an environment for self-education and self-realization. The success of this school sparked the opening of many more, and a worldwide interest in Montessori's methods of education.