Somebody once said to me “Montessori is when they just get to play all day right?” Erm, no.
I have worked in both Montessori and state school settings over the past six years, including a top Montessori school in London. Over these years, I have never seen a method of teaching that makes more sense than Montessori. Each child is taught as an individual and not as one of many. I plan to have Montessori activities at home and send my children to Montessori Nursery School. They are wonderful places to be and I fully encourage parents to look into this wonderful type of teaching. I can assure you it will help shape your little ones into a confident, happy individuals.
What is Montessori?
Montessori is a type of education that was created in the 20th century, by Dr Maria Montessori.
Who was Maria Montessori?
Maria Montessori was born in 1870. She was the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome medical school, and became interested in education through her work as a doctor with disadvantaged children.
What is the Montessori Method?
Montessori is a method of teaching that stemmed from Maria Montessori’s experiences alongside disadvantaged children. It pushes children to become independent, self confident individuals that learn through their natural interests. She developed a method of teaching children through ‘doing’, and the UK Government’s Early Years Foundation Stage has acknowledged that the Montessori approach is at the core of its view on the way children learn.
Montessori believed that the child’s biggest capacity to learn was between the ages of 0-6 years old. Each child learns as an individual and chooses what activity they use and where they use it. Each activity has many indirect learning objectives; such as hand eye co-ordination, concentration skills and fine motor skills.
A child uses an activity independently from the shelf, and take it their chosen place in the classroom to explore it. Often a child will be able to use control of error to learn how to use the activity, for example; a tray with two jugs, and a little sponge. The child uses the sponge to clean up spillages until they can pour the liquid without spilling. If the adult saw the child struggling to use it, they could approach the child to say something like “I love the way you are using that activity, can I show you another way to use it?” That way the child still builds their self esteem and concentration skills, without thinking they are wrong.
The Montessori Classroom
The classroom is set up so everything is at the child’s height at certain shelves. The child is able to choose whether they work at a table or on the floor, using a roll out mat. The child will be at their most comfortable so therefore have the maximum capacity to take in new skills and information.
Montessori classrooms have five areas of learning; Practical Life (Otherwise known as Activities of Everyday Living), Sensorial, Literacy, Numeracy, and Cultural. Alongside these areas, Montessori classrooms will usually have an Art area, Reading corner, Construction shelf and Role play area. The children will often have free flow to the outside so they can choose their best learning environment.
Some activity examples are below:
Example Cultural Activity
Example Numeracy Activity
Example Practical Life Activity
Example Sensorial Activity
Example Literacy Activity