Montessori schools are founded on a basic teaching philosophy. It is one that allows children to learn for themselves based on their environment. Supervisors help guide learning, rather than forcefully teaching and group work is encouraged so that kids learn from each other. The approach is meant for early education. Montessori preschool focuses on learning from all five senses. More than 4,000 Montessori schools are spread across the U.S.
Dr. Maria Montessori founded the program a century ago. While working with preschool-aged kids in the inner city, she noticed how quickly and much children learned from their surroundings. Her theory of teaching embraces what she observed by harnessing a child’s natural desire to learn. There is a triangular balance between the child, the environment and the teacher.
A few staples of Montessori preschool include:
-A variety of materials: Montessori classrooms utilize a wide range of materials for their activities and playtime. Children may explore touch by playing with metal objects, followed by wooden objects. The focus is on learning in the environment, using the environment.
-Individuality is embraced: Montessori preschool recognizes that, especially when kids are learning from their surroundings, each and every one learns differently. Because of this, they embrace unique learning styles and individuality.
-Children become active learners: Montessori classrooms are created so that children are not only learning, but creating a lifelong habit of learning.
-Hands-on teachers: Teachers at Montessori preschool are expected to be fully involved in all the activities that surround them. They’re their for guidance and general structure, but they also know how to dig in and have fun learning right along with the kids in their classrooms.
-The American Montessori Society: http://www.amshq.org/Montessori-Education.aspx
-“Montessori Mafia” Wall Street Journal: http://blogs.wsj.com/ideas-market/2011/04/05/the-montessori-mafia/
-Association Montessori International: http://amiusa.org/products-page/publications/the-human-tendencies-and-montessori-education/
-Montessori Congress: http://montessoricongress.org/
-Photo courtesy of stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net
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