The Montessori philosophy is about “following the child”, where the teacher is a facilitator, an observer, and a guide who sets up the classroom with appropriate activities that engage and entice the child. Dr. Montessori believed that every child is a unique individual who is naturally driven to grow, develop and learn.
The Montessori Method of teaching is based on the principles of Dr. Maria Montessori, a physician, professor, intellectual, and full-time educator, who was way ahead of her time. Dr. Montessori’s observations of the children lead her to conclude that they “absorb” the lessons spontaneously and naturally from the environment , especially from birth to age six. Dr. Montessori developed a range of activities where the children explore with their five senses while absorbing knowledge. The young child, as Maria Montessori discovered , has a strong sense of order, and enjoys freedom within “limits”. Dr. Montessori believed that movement is the key to a child’s joyous learning.
Following are a few frequently asked questions about Montessori Education answered on the American Montessori Society’s website:
Why are Montessori schools all work and no play?
Dr. Montessori realized that children’s play is their work—their effort to master their own bodies and environment—and out of respect she used the term “work” to describe all their classroom activities. Montessori students work hard, but they don’t experience it as drudgery; rather, it’s an expression of their natural curiosity and desire to learn.
If children work at their own pace, don’t they fall behind?
Although students are free to work at their own pace, they’re not going it alone. The Montessori teacher closely observes each child and provides materials and activities that advance his learning by building on skills and knowledge already gained. This gentle guidance helps him master the challenge at hand—and protects him from moving on before he’s ready, which is what actually causes children to “fall behind.”
Do Montessori teachers follow a curriculum?
Montessori schools teach the same basic skills as traditional schools, and offer a rigorous academic program. Most of the subject areas are familiar—such as math, science, history, geography, and language—but they are presented through an integrated approach that brings separate strands of the curriculum together.
Is it true that Montessori students have the same teacher for all subjects rather than work with “specialists” in different curricular areas?
Montessori teachers are educated as “generalists,” qualified to teach all sections of the curriculum. But many schools choose to also employ specialists in certain subjects, including art, music, foreign language, physical education, and science.