What is the Montessori Method?
Montessori preschools made the news and garnered interest in 2018 when Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, pledged $1 billion to focus on establishing a network of new preschools in low-income regions and fund non-profit organizations that help the homeless. The Montessori teaching method has had many notable alumni and Bezos is one of them.
What is the Montessori Method
The Montessori method, named after its founder, Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centric system of education that encourages children to engage in activities and promotes independence.
Dr. Montessori supported the idea of letting your child choose what they want to learn and at what time. Montessori is a way of education for children from birth to years in a self-directed and collaborative way.
A Montessori classroom is different from what you see around as it:
- Focuses on the overall personality of the child
- Has an unconventional grading rubric
- Encourages teachers to move across groups
- Lets children choose activities
Principles of the Montessori Method
- Respect the child: Montessori method respects the child’s uniqueness, the child’s freedom of choice, and learning at a pace that works for them. Montessori-trained teachers interact with kids with respect.
- Absorbent Mind: A child is like a sponge for information during the first six years and they develop an understanding of their personalities, culture, and the world around them during this period.
- Sensitive Periods: Children have various stages of development and these phases are their sensitive periods. These sensitive periods are their peak learning phases and include docus, commitment to finish a task, concentration, and repetition.
- Individualized Learning: Montessori educators are trained to deliver personalized learning based on the child’s needs, interests and development. They track the child’s progress and support them in their academic progress.
- Educate the Whole Child: Its primary objective is the overall development of the child. All its activities, toys, etc focus on social, intellectual, physical, and emotional development.
Like anything else, it has its supporters and critics. Montessori teachers can get passionate if you talk to one, but like any other method, it has its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of the Montessori Method of Teaching
Montessori educators praise this method because it inspires them. Let’s now look at the advantages and disadvantages of
Montessori classrooms are designed to encourage the child to develop and learn at the pace they enjoy. They are given activities, materials, and lessons that help them develop their preferences and likes.
The classes are designed around the goals above. They are spacious and have a lot of natural light. Montessori educators use geometric solids, wooden toys, and sandpaper letters.
This method encourages social interactions between children of various ages by grouping them. The classrooms have kids of various ages to foster learning from other children. This teaches them life skills like acceptance and inclusion.
Montessori classrooms are designed to encourage independence, increase confidence and give creative freedom to children of all ages. It develops a sense of ownership and entrepreneurial skillset since the learning is self-directed.
Montessori educators and classrooms focus on learning resulting in increased curiosity and view learning as an ongoing process. It doesn’t end when the child goes home. Rather, it’s an extension of their lives. It connects various ideas and people in differing contexts.
The Montessori method includes kids with special needs by grouping children of varying ages together in a single workspace. This reduces the pressure to learn at someone else’s pace and helps them develop social interactions.
The disadvantages of Montessori Method
This doesn’t mean it works for everyone. Many criticize the Montessori method for the following reasons. Let’s take a look!
Montessori schools can be expensive for some because of the learning materials, toys, and in-depth training the teachers have to undergo to conduct such classes.
Some educators think the Montessori method is a bit too loose and don’t support the idea of letting the children do what they like. Some even say that children become stronger in arts and language while not as prepared for the challenges presented by science and math.
Some educators think that children should be given structure and routine and the open structure of Montessori classes are a bit much. They prefer giving the child order and routine of regular classes.
As with any method of education, the Montessori method has its pros and cons. As a parent, you should definitely check out a few Montessori and traditional schools and decide what you wish to present to your child.