Montessori schools have been growing in numbers. We have seen a growing number of parents transferring their children from traditional schools to Montessori. This makes other parents curious.
What does a Montessori school mean? Montessori schools use the nontraditional Montessori method of teaching developed by Dr. Maria Montessori. It aims to develop the child as a whole, not just in academics. It is a child-centered approach that follows the natural interests of a child and lets them learn through hands-on experiences, and develop real-world skills and good character traits. It addresses all the developmental needs of a child.
Montessori schools do not have grade levels. It only has educational stages.
Montessori believes that children can learn and develop as soon as they are born. It is recommended that Montessori training should start at birth.
In this stage of Montessori, infants, and toddlers do activities that will develop their gross and fine motor skills, language, and confidence. Montessori activities offer young children opportunities to gain independence.
Montessori provides a safe, engaging, and supportive environment to children. It aims to teach functional independence, self-discipline, and task persistence. Focus and concentration are key at this stage.
Preschool students engage in activities that will develop new abilities and increase their confidence and trust in themselves as well as their surroundings.
The Montessori preschool classroom provides various learning materials that will refine their sensory perception, and develop language, literacy, and math skills. It also offers opportunities for independent learning, imaginative play, and exploration.
Montessori elementary is divided into two groups – lower and upper elementary. Lower elementary covers the ages of children 6 to 9 years old. Upper elementary covers the ages 9 to 12 years old.
Montessori elementary focuses on independent learning and collaborative work through intellectual exploration of the child’s interests.
At this stage, children start to understand their role in society, culture, and the environment. They also master academic learning like math, language and communication, and sciences.
Secondary education of Montessori includes a middle school for ages 12 to 15 years old and high school for ages 15 to 18 years old.
Secondary school students are now considered adolescents. The focus of their education is practical application and actual work.
Academic subjects become more complex to prepare them for higher education. They also start working in actual jobs as apprentices in fields of study they are interested in. Montessori adolescents are also given opportunities to start and run their own small businesses to develop a deeper understanding of currency, administration, and the business framework.
Montessori classrooms are unique. Each has a character of its own. No two Montessori classrooms look the same. Each classroom is designed according to each student’s needs.
The Montessori classroom is divided into activity areas and learning spaces. It contains Montessori learning materials that allow students to learn independently
The Montessori classroom design and materials change constantly according to the student’s progress and ever-changing developmental needs.
Montessori teachers play many roles in the Montessori classroom. Montessori teachers are highly-trained generalists who can teach all subjects.
Some of the major roles Montessori teachers play are:
- A well-trained observer who can recognize sensitive periods and teaching opportunities.
- Acts as a consultant for students while they are working. Montessori teachers do not instruct or direct. They make themselves accessible so students can consult them when needed and they can provide insights and guidance.
- Help set learning goals with the students.
- Create effective education programs for each student.
- Assess students’ behavior and progress.
- Provide feedback to students after every activity on what they did right, areas they need to improve on, and how they can do better next time.
- Provide regular updates to parents and other Montessori adults.
- Work with experts and parents to help children achieve their full potential.
- Update their knowledge and skills regularly through training and additional education to keep up with Montessori standards and techniques.
Does it mean Montessori teachers do not teach? Montessori teachers do teach, just not in the traditional way that we are used to. They plan ahead to prepare and choose the activities and learning materials that children will choose from so they will gain a deeper understanding of their lessons. Montessori teachers lay out everything the child needs to pursue their lessons on their own. Teachers provide one-on-one sessions with students to give each one quality time for learning and feedback.
Why are there no grade levels? Montessori believes that children do not learn at the same pace. They should not be put in a box expecting them to learn the same lessons at the same time. Grade levels in traditional schools group children according to their age. Montessori groups children according to their developmental range. This is why Montessori groups students in multi-age classrooms that stay together for three years.
Can students transfer from public schools to Montessori schools? Yes, students from public schools are welcome to transfer to Montessori. Montessori education welcomes all children. It does not discriminate against students based on age, gender, race, social status, learning style and pace, disabilities, etc. Montessori provides a safe, welcoming, and accepting environment for all children.
Montessori schools use the nontraditional Montessori method of teaching developed by Dr. Maria Montessori. It aims to develop the child as a whole, not just in academics. It is a child-centered approach that follows the natural interests of a child and lets them learn through hands-on experiences, and develop real-world skills and good character traits. It addresses all the developmental needs of a child.
The growing popularity of Montessori education is due to the fact that many happy and successful adults have benefited from it over the years. We hope we have answered your question.