Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What is Montessori anyways?

Montessori Materials

When I mention that I have worked at a Montessori school, a common response is “I went to a Montessori school. All I remember is...(I always wanted to make snack, my teacher let a kid wear his shoes on the wrong feet, etc.) What is Montessori anyway?”

Montessori is a method of education developed by the Italian physician and teacher Dr. Maria Montessori. The Montessori method begins with the premise that children have an absorbent mind that learns from the environment more than from teachers. Therefore, the Montessori classroom is one where teachers serve as guides and students learn from a “prepared environment.”
Montessori schools are found all over the world. In the US, there are public and private Montessori schools that educate children as old as high school, but most American Montessori schools are private preschools.

One Montessori classroom serves students of a range of ages. Students work alone or in small groups on lessons of their choosing.

Montessori lessons come from one of five or six subjects: language, mathematics, science/nature, culture/geography, sensory, and practical life. Each lesson is a set of material with a prescribed step-by-step procedure for its use. Much of the material used in Montessori classrooms was developed by Dr. Montessori. In theory, children learn from working with these materials and repeating lessons until they have mastered a concept and are ready to progress to a more complex lesson.

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