Since much of the learning process is self-directed, Montessori preschool centers have become increasingly popular. But how are they different from conventional nursery schools? When I first entered a Montessori preschool classroom six years ago, I was amazed by the materials, the quiet atmosphere, and the unfamiliar terms used by the teachers. Now that my two children have been through Montessori preschool centers, I understand much better how they work. This article will explain the history of the Montessori method, how well children learn at Montessori preschool centers, and what parents should look for and avoid if they go the Montessori route.
The Montessori method was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian doctor born in 1870. She was fascinated by children and observed them closely, leading her to develop a theory of human development based on the idea that children instinctively know what they need to learn and that, when surrounded by the right practical materials, they can educate themselves independently. Another key concept of the Montessori method is that children learn by practicing the types of “real” activities they see adults doing.
The success of the Montessori school led to more schools being opened in other parts of Europe and in the United States. Montessori preschool classrooms tend to look very different from “traditional” preschool classrooms. For example, children from 3 to 6 years old all work in the same room, so that the little ones can learn from their elders and older children can develop a sense of leadership and authority. When children go to Montessori preschool centers, they stay with the same teacher for all three years.
Dr. Angeline Lillard, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia who has studied Montessori education for over 20 years, said that Montessori preschool centers can work well for those students who are especially energetic or need regular breaks. Good teachers can help these children understand their needs and provide them with appropriate breaks. It is important to note that schools can call themselves “Montessori” even if they are not following all of Dr.
Montessori's principles. The pink tower is a work by Montessori based on the senses that consists of stacking pink cubes of different sizes. A true Montessori school must also have a three-hour block in the morning where students work continuously with Montessori materials. If the school you're seeing adheres to these principles but also allows children to use toys, Lego bricks, or other non-Montessori materials, then it can be considered a supplemented Montessori school.
Ultimately, whether it is classic or supplemented or not Montessori at all, the best preschool for your child is one where they feel good and comfortable. Do students seem happy and relaxed? Is the classroom environment positive and conducive to learning? Do teachers seem warm and responsive? Parenting often requires trusting your gut and finding the right preschool for your child should also take advantage of those instincts. The Montessori method is not a bad program as it focuses on promoting independence and encouraging growth at an individual pace. However, some drawbacks include price, lack of availability and an overly flexible curriculum.
There are many schools offering Casa Montessori programs for children between 2.5 and 6 years old as well as enriched programs up to grade 8 with an OSSD credit in grade 9 academic mathematics. The American Montessori Society is the premier member advocacy organization, research forum and resource collaboration for the global community of Montessori educators. Bannockburn School leads Montessori education by offering an exceptional and enriched curriculum in a nurturing environment carefully prepared to meet the needs of children in their formative years while Bishop Hamilton Montessori School offers an authentic Christian approach for children ages 3 months to 14.If you are interested in teaching using this method, you can decide if you want to teach in an authentic Montessori school or if you just want to incorporate some Montessori principles into your teaching. After that, you can read The Montessori Controversy by John Chattin-McNichols which contains information about how some studies showed that children who had gone to a Montessori school had better academic outcomes than those who had gone to more traditional high-quality preschool centers.