“Supposing I said there was a planet without schools or teachers, where study was unknown and yet the inhabitants—doing nothing but living and walking about—came to know all things, to carry in their minds the whole of learning… Well, just this, which seems so fanciful, is a reality. It is the child’s way of learning."
A Montessori preschool aims to continue a child’s natural and unique path in learning. Classrooms are prepared with a resemblance to the home. Real life objects and learning materials are provided which enrich a child’s vocabulary, enhance the child’s sensory discrimination, and aid the child in practical chores of daily living.
Dr. Maria Montessori developed this style of educating children over 100 years ago in Italy. Today the American Montessori Society’s website notes that there are more than 3800 Montessori schools in the United States. Many begin as Montessori in-home childcare providers and grow over several years to include elementary level programs.
Children enrolled in Montessori programs are in multiage groups and have access to a full range of developmentally appropriate experiences. New concepts are introduced using specialized teaching equipment. The teacher instructs children by sitting next to the child, demonstrating the use of the material, and later observing the child’s practice; watching for the readiness of the child to advance to new lessons. Lessons are given in language, mathematics, geography, and science, with art, music, and movement integrated throughout daily activities. The child follows each lesson with hands-on practice, alone or with a friend, creating a purposeful flow of activity in the classroom.
Montessori environments encourage self-mastery and independence. Equipment is made or adjusted to be child-size to fit the hand so that the child can “do it myself.” A sense of taking care of self, others, and all of the items in the classroom, living and non-living, is nurtured. Children are helped to manage social courtesies and responsibilities, learning through participation in discussions with classmates about classroom ground rules, individual feelings, and solutions for conflicts.
Teachers in the Montessori philosophy have a deep respect that the child is developing into the world citizen he will be as a grown-up. Montessori teachers are trained to prepare the learning environment in such a way that the child is joyfully active, “walking about,” constructing foundations for school and for living. They establish an active partnership with the family to provide for the child the very best support for his progress as a great and wonderful person.
For more information visit the American Montessori Society website at www.amshq.orgType your paragraph here.
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