THE MONTESSORI METHOD

About Us      Our Philosophy       The Montessori Method       Independence       Our Classroom

 

“Education is a natural process as spontaneously carried out by the individual and is acquired not by listening to words, but by experiences...”

  1. -Dr. Maria Montessori


Dr. Maria Montessori was born in Italy on August 31, 1870.  She never dreamed of teaching and was accepted into the Faculty of Medicine in error - the admissions clerk believed her name to be Mario.  Once enrolled, the University of Rome was too embarrassed to ask her to leave.  Much to their chagrin, Maria became the first female physician in Italy and was the class Valedictorian.  Dr. Maria Montessori graduated cum laude and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times.

At the turn of the century, Dr. Montessori began a process that would have worldwide implications.  Over the next 100 years, she changed the course of education and teaching in every classroom from Preschool to University.  She discarded old prejudices regarding children and set out to establish a scientific approach to education, based on the careful observation of children in many different countries, cultures and socio-economic backgrounds.  Her philosophy reflects her deep respect for children and her trust in their ability to be active participants in their own learning, ultimately enabling them one day to be active participants in world peace.

Montessori believed the goal of early childhood education is to prepare an environment that cultivates the child’s natural desire to learn.  This environment and the materials will motivate the child towards self-directed learning and independence from adults.

The Method at Montessori & Me


Our technique is composed of three elements:

  1. The prepared environment - we construct the prepared environment based on the needs of the child.

  2. Observation - we constantly observe to discover the needs of the child.

  3. Non-directive guidance - the child’s freedom to explore is as important as the exact use of the material.






The Montessori Method is based on the fundamental premise that:

  1. The child has a true love and need for purposeful work.

  2. The child possesses an unusual sensitivity and mental powers for absorbing and learning from the environment - unlike those of the adult, both in capacity and quality.

  3. The most important years of growth are the first seven or eight years of life, when the unconscious learning is gradually differentiated on the conscious level.


Children are to be respected as different from adults, and as individuals who differ from one another. Dr. Maria Montessori died on May 6, 1952 at the age of 81.  She gave the world a better understanding of the way in which children learn and the type of environment that is best suited to their needs.  Contemporary educational and cognitive development experts have validated her research.  Those who studied under Dr. Montessori and went on to make their own contributions to education and child psychology include: Anna Freud, Jean Piaget, Alfred Alder and Erik Erikson.


We model grace and courtesy, along with the ground rules.  Teachers use “I understand” messages to acknowledge a child’s feelings while insisting upon adherence to classroom guidelines and work expectations.  We never demean or criticize students for inappropriate behavior or failure to accomplish a learning task.  Rather, we present and re-present practical alternatives and possibilities.  We demonstrate ways in which the child may succeed.


Teachers are respectful of working students and do not interrupt them, enabling students to work with a lesson until it is completed to the student’s satisfaction.  All activity, however, is dependent on adherence to ground rules which prohibit harm to self, others and the classroom environment.


Corporal or shame-based punishment is not permitted under any circumstances.  It is helpful for parents to uphold these basic tenets at home as well and use positive, non-violent methods to reinforce ground rules.  Research has shown that punitive measures are far less effective teaching tools that positive attention and reinforcement.


We carefully prepare the learning environment prior to the beginning of the school year and renew our classroom on a monthly basis.  We exchange some activities for more difficult ones, incorporate new materials to meet individual needs and address current events.  Teachers present lessons and activities primarily on an individual basis or in a small group.


Teachers observe each child and engage the child’s interest with specific lessons.  In selecting an activity for a child, the teacher will ensure it is the right match - difficult enough to be challenging, but not so difficult that it is frustrating.  Careful observation of the child allows the teacher to direct the child to new activities, to help before frustration sets in and to represent the concept in a parallel activity at either a simpler of more advanced level.


Parents should show respectful and positive attention when students bring work home.  Do not automatically correct “mistakes”.  Focus on the positive advancement the work represents and trust that the teacher is fully aware and working with your child to achieve a higher level of mastery.




















  1. -Research cited from John Chatin-McNichols, PhD, “The Montessori Controversy”, Chapter 14, Delmar Publisher, Inc., Albany, NY 2002.






© 2009-2016 Montessori & Me Private Schools Of Edmonton (2009) INC.

 

Research


Current research indicates:

  1. Montessori children are rated significantly superior on interest in learning, independence, interpersonal relations, leadership and learning ability.

  2. Montessori programs are rated as the most effective in producing long-term school success.

  3. Montessori children continue to maintain statistically higher levels in reading and math.

  4. The Montessori approach performs better that other programs studied in the development of attention strategies, general intelligence, achievement in academic areas and in maintaining these skills.