We recently attended the Cincinnati Montessori Society (CMS) Conference about the characteristics of Montessori Education. The following content is from Rosemary Quaranta, M. Ed.
“The child is truly a miraculous being and this should be felt deeply by the educator.” Maria Montessori
Authentic Characteristics of Montessori Education
- Children are inspired through presentations
- Allows for spontaneous activity
- Individualized education — education that fits the needs of the child
- Works from whole concepts and then breaks into parts
- Children move from concrete to abstract
- Beautifully prepared environments
- Development of the whole child
- Parent, child and teacher work together to support the child
- Materials are developmentally sequenced
- Multi-aged classrooms — 3-year cycle
- Peer collaborative learning
- Uninterrupted blocks of work time
- Guided choice of work
- Specifically designed developmentally appropriate materials
- Materials are used to teach the concept; not textbooks or pencil and paper
- Child repeats presentation with materials until a deep understanding is achieved
- Teacher guides children according to “sensitive periods”
“Education should no longer be mostly imparting knowledge but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentials.” Dr. Maria Montessori
Social and Emotional Development, Self Development, Cognitive Development
What are self-development skills?
- Follows directions
- Exhibits self-confidence
- Exhibits self-motivation
- Seeks help and asks questions
- Accepts guidance and direction
- Concentration and focus
- Organization of work
- Organization of time
- Able to transition
- Takes on new challenges
(Stephen Hughes, Executive Functioning Skills)
Prepared Indoor Environment
- Classroom environment supports group and individual activity and is suited to the needs of the students.
- Rooms are open and spacious.
- Children isolate their space on a rug or table.
- Walls are uncluttered with beautiful pieces of art.
- Each area of the curriculum is well defined.
- Design and flow of the classroom create a learning environment that accommodates choice.
- Environment encourages creative expression and spontaneous activity.
- Everything is child-sized to support independence.
- Spaces for large group, small group, and individual work space.
- Classrooms have a feeling of home: rugs, lamps, flowers, plants, etc.
- Classroom environment is free of clutter and ordered.
- The teacher work space should not be in the classroom space.
- Multiple kinds of work spaces.
- You do not need a table for every child.
- Space should encourage no more than two children to work together.
- Preparation of the environment is done before children arrive or after they leave.
What is a “typical” Montessori student?
- Joyful Learner
- Problem Solver
- Makes Connections
- Makes a positive contribution to his/her community
- Individualized education
- Didactic materials
- Allows movement
- Teach to child’s interest
- Differential learning
- Have three years in one classroom
- Have a supportive community
- Understanding, respectful teachers
- Teacher, child, and parents work together as a team
- Teachers won’t ask for educational evaluation
- Teachers supplement curriculum with new materials
Can we serve children with learning difficulties?
- Maria Montessori first started with children with special needs.
- She believed in the possibility of all children.
- She developed didactic materials that with repetition reinforced a deep understanding of a specific concept.
- She knew you had to arouse the interest in the child.
- She said to saturate the children with presentations.
- Through observation, she would change materials to meet the needs of the child.
- First, look at your environment, then yourself, then the child.