The Montessori methodology helps children to become independent and confident in order to reach their full potential. All children are unique, with different interests and abilities. The Montessori approach towards learning supports this individuality by understanding and catering for each child’s needs. The process towards developing this individual way of learning involves careful child observations and individual planning for each child. These techniques enable the teachers to tune into and cater for the unique characteristics of each child. The children become enticed in and excited by their learning as their changing interests and progress are continually monitored and provided for. They gain great confidence through their achievements as their learning is staggered to the next level based on previous observations.
The environment is carefully prepared with Montessori materials in line with the individual planning, abilities and interests of the children within the setting. Everything is accessible to the children so that they are able to make their own choices and decisions around the work they carry out during the Work Cycle. The Montessori Work Cycle is a long period of uninterrupted time usually between 1-2 hours long, enabling children to repeat activities in order to refine their skills and understanding of different concepts. It supports children towards developing concentration, decision making, problem solving and social skills.
During the Work Cycle there is a balance between child and teacher initiated activities. Teachers observe and take advantage of opportunities to build on children’s learning and to introduce them to new themes and materials. Children are introduced to new materials at the shelf by the teacher or independently select an activity of their choice. They work on either floor or table mats in order to create their own individual work space, within which they can invite others to work with them. Once they have finished working with their activity, children are expected to ensure the material has been packed away tidily and returned to the shelf as they found it ready for the next person to work with. There is a lot of emphasis on care of the environment and consideration for others’, these values are embedded through such practices.
Another crucial part of the Montessori environment is the boundaries that are in place. There is a lot of emphasis on the freedom that a child is exposed to in a Montessori setting, however this works only within limits. Montessori actually saw freedom with no limits as abandonment. The boundaries are named Ground or Golden Rules and are discussed with the children and implemented from day one. Involving the children in choosing the Golden Rules, makes the rules more significant to them and helps them to feel that their opinions and ideas are valued and respected. The Golden Rules establish a peaceful and respectful environment within which the children feel safe and are able to flourish.
Please contact me if you would like to learn more about what Montessori can off you and your school.