THE MONTESSORI METHOD

Montessori is an educational pedagogy that focuses on the individual child and his needs. The concepts behind the pedagogy were consolidated by Dr. Maria Montessori in the beginning of the 20th century. Her concepts in regards to teaching children based on their needs and personal interest lead to the Montessori educational method of today.

The Montessori approach to education requires that children are placed in a well-planned and structured environment which will meet their individual educational and cultural needs. The children are free to follow their own interests within this planned environment, rather than being forced to learn something that is inappropriate to their developmental stage. The result is that children develop in a natural way and are highly motivated. They develop good discipline and master basic skills, and in many cases earlier than in a more traditional system of education. To bring about these results the teacher is trained in specific skills, the curriculum is carefully planned to reflect the children’s own culture and educational needs, the support materials for the curriculum are specifically Montessori and the outcomes for the children are unique. 

There are three basic elements of the Montessori approach to education:

The Structured Environment
The Montessori Curriculum
The Montessori Teacher



The Structured Environment

This is referred to as the ‘Prepared Environment’ and by this is meant the physical appearance and the arrangement of the learning materials adhering to certain principles which focus on meeting the needs of the ‘whole child’. It is the teacher’s role to prepare and maintain this environment. These principles encompass:


  • Freedom of movement and freedom of choice for the children

  • Structure and order in the arrangement and sequence of the materials

  • An atmosphere that is attractive, warm and inviting

  • Materials that provide active learning experiences

  • Vertical grouping (in the age ranges 2½ to 6 years)

  • A closeness to nature and the natural world and activities and materials that reflect the reality of life, not fantasy


The Montessori Curriculum

There is a framework which specifies learning outcomes and the knowledge and skills to be learned. It is divided into the Montessori areas of learning:

PRACTICAL LIFE

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SENSORIAL

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MATH

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SCIENCE AND GEOGRAPHY

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LANGUAGE

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OUTDOOR PLAY

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ART LESSONS

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IMAGINATIVE PLAY

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