Montessori is an educational method that focuses on the individual child and their needs. The concepts behind the method were derived 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. There are four areas of learning in a Montessori 3-6 class:
Practical life involves materials and exercises of everyday life, from pouring water from a jug to a glass, or learning how to tie a shoelace. These activities help the child to properly take care of themselves so that they may feel as though they are independent and do not have to rely on an adult for their basic needs.
These activities allow the child to refine each of their senses. They will learn to appreciate colour or texture differences, organize their thoughts and objects in their environment and to develop refined sense of pitch from the music they may hear around them.
The child develops language through a specific progression of lessons where they first become aware of the different sounds in a word. The child then learns the language phonetically until the point where they are taught the different “rules” in a given language and the exceptions to those rules they will need to know in order to spell and read fluently.
The child first learns to count from 1-10 through the understanding of the concept that those numbers represent a specific amount. Through each material, the child will learn addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and truly understand what each one means in their deeper sense. Through this method of teaching, Montessori offers the child a strong and solid foundation in the understanding of mathematics.
Overall, what makes this method of learning so different compared to the conventional form of education we have today, is that the teacher does not stand in front of the class and teach each child the same lesson all at once. Each child is allowed to learn at his own rhythm in a way where he feels as though he is in fact not learning or being taught.
Montessori called this way of teaching “preparing the child for success”. The teacher is there to guide the child through small exercises in which the child will succeed. Through time, the exercises rise in difficulty but because the progression is so well thought out, the child never feels as though learning is a struggle.