What is Montessori?

The Montessori system of education is a philosophy propounded by Dr Maria Montessori, based on her scientific education and research and observation of children for several years. Dr Montessori believed that ‘education is aid for life’. The Montessori system is designed in such a way that it prepared the child for life. It helps the child in developing his inner abilities and potentialities which he is naturally born with.

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The Montessori philosophy believes that every child is born with creative potential and the drive to learn, which can be developed optimally in a free environment. The child from the earliest moments of life possesses great constructive energies that guide the formation of his mind and the co-ordination of his body.

About Dr Maria Montessori

Dr Maria Montessori was the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome Medical School. She became interested in education as a doctor working with underprivileged children. She observed these children for a long time and devised scientific educational aid for them, which helped them in understanding the world around them, through their hands and senses. She started the first Montessori school in 1907. Later, she travelled all over the world lecturing about her discoveries of children’s powers and potentials, and established schools.

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The environment (classroom) specially prepared for a young child and the role of the Directress (teacher) in the classroom, the scientifically designed didactic material distinguishes Montessori schools from other schools.

Benefits of the Montessori System

Education given through Hands and Senses -The young child understands his world through personal experiences. Hence the Montessori education, offers the child various materials, which he utilizes with his hands and perceives with his senses in order to understand various concepts of physical properties, language, mathematics and develops various aspects of his personality through them.

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Individual Rhythm – In a Montessori environment (classroom) a child is allowed to work on something until he/ she has mastered it, each child works at his own individual pace and is not forced. Every child has different abilities and interests, thus their individuality is respected and supported.

Scientific Designed Equipments – The materials with which the children work in the classroom are prepared scientifically to the exact and accurate specification for the purpose of performing a task which calls for great precision and leads the child towards overall personality development.

Mixed Age Group – A mixed age group environment is an important feature of the Montessori Environment. This reflects the community life in which a child is eventually expected to blend. Combining older and younger children, helps them learn from and teach each other. This is good for the older children because they can help the younger ones, which not only reinforces what they have learnt but enhances their self- esteem as well. The younger ones in turn have role models to follow and are integrated into the classroom by the older children. The children slowly build up the element of co-operation and work as a team. The young child is surrounded by role models, a little more developed than him. Similarly the older child finds himself in a position of responsibility, and by showing the younger child what he know, affirms to himself, more surely than any test, the extent of his learning. Co-operation replaces competition.

Freedom – In the Montessori environment, the child enjoys several forms of freedom: the freedom to choose his own activity, to repeat the activity any number of times leading towards perfection, to move around (without disturbing others), to communicate and interact and to observe another child’s activity. The freedom is provided along with guidelines which allow the children to develop discipline and respect towards the environment.

Montessori V/s Traditional

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Self-interpretive Environment – Nursery Traditional Classroom – Nursery
Practical life skills – Care of set, care of environment and food based activities – Provided at child’s level, to enhance the child’s concentration, attention span, will power and independence Practical Life Skills – Exercises of practical life are not offered. Some concentration developing activities.
Eye hand co-ordination activities – Scientifically designed Wooden material Eye-hand co-ordination activities – Building blocks and tearing paper
Language Development – Focus on Spoken language as the child is experiencing the urge to express himself verbally. Vocabulary building activities, Oral Phonetic Analysis, Syntactic and Semantic development activities and Positive, comparative and superlative degrees.

 

·         Preparation to writing – Sandpaper letters – Cursive script

Language Development – Focus is on the introduction of the Alphabet

 

·         Recognition of letters of the alphabet – print Capital script through charts and books

 

·         Preparation to writing – Slanting lines, straight lines, curved lines.

Sensorial Development – Scientifically designed equipments for the refinement of each of the senses. Sensorial Development – Focus only on stimulating the visual sense through bright colours.
Mathematics – Introduced through practical life skills and sensorial activities. Introduction to geometry at a sensorial level Mathematics – Recognition of numbers from 1 – 10
Geography is introduced at the sensorial level Geography is introduced when the child is in primary section.
Botany in introduced through practical life skills where the child gets to work with plants with his hands and senses. Botany is introduced when the child is in primary section
Music – Introduction to music is through  meaningful and reality based songs Music – Introduction to music is with nursery rhymes
Art – Child is allowed free expression by providing opportunity to draw/colour/paint on a blank paper. Sticking, pasting, rolling, twisting activities done Art – Child is made to draw/colour/paint on blank paper and within boundaries. Sticking pasting activities done.