Montessori is a method of education created by Dr Maria Montessori. This approach is founded upon extensive research into the ways children learn. Montessori stresses the importance of regarding the child’s learning process in its entirety and taking into account both the child and his or her place in the community, which is of immense importance nowadays. It is paramount to ensure that the children will become motivated adults by making certain that enough attention is paid to the development of a child’s love of learning as well as by encouraging an atmosphere of independence provided by various materials and activities. A good learning environment is of immense importance insofar as it provides a whole arena of opportunities for the development of both habits and skills.
The Montessori approach is applied in classrooms through a series of developmental stages with the aim of helping children form habits, which they can use both in the learning process and in life. It is offered from birth to adulthood spanning across four age groups: Assistants to Infancy (0-3), Casa dei Bambini (3-6), Elementary (6-12) and Erdkinder (12-18). This approach provides three very important things: an environment that is in accordance with the child’s needs at the stage of development in question, an adult who is a guide and who understands the way children develop, and lastly freedom for children to take part in their own development. There are numerous schools that employ the Montessori approach as well as various web sites and blogs, where one can find additional information.
The focus here is on the child’s innate passion for learning, which is endorsed by providing opportunities for spontaneous activities during which children develop self-discipline as well as concentration. Learning materials are beautifully designed and openly displayed so as to encourage children to use them as an essential part of their learning process. They are perceived as tools meant to stimulate and make children think logically and discover things on their own. If a mistake is made it will be evident immediately, which helps the child not to rely on anyone else but work independently. It should also be pointed out that there is no such thing as pressure, but each child is regarded in terms of his or her capabilities as well as pace and rhythm of work.
The Montessori approach to education does not merely serve the purpose of being a mould in which a child develops learning skills and habits but it also teaches the importance of interacting socially with others. Children do not fight over toys. As soon as they finish playing, they return everything where it belongs. They are also taught to clean after themselves, how to wash and peal vegetables and fruits, how to use objects such as glasses and ceramic bowls. They indeed learn how to take care of themselves and how to behave in a responsible manner. In addition, no child is hindered by being pressured or made to feel that there is some sort of competition. All children are perceived as equals and their co-operation is encouraged to a wide extent. The purpose is to enable children to be fully prepared to take charge of their own learning as well as to develop their ability to socialize.
This clearly paints a picture of a learning space in which the teacher, child and environment create a learning triangle. Each of the three elements depends upon the other two inasmuch as they all play an important part in creating such a learning atmosphere that fosters and builds healthy habits when it comes to the way a child approaches both life and learning.