We’ve explained the difference between Montessori and traditional preschools and we’ve told you what to look for in an authentic Montessori program. We haven’t filled you in though, on why Montessori makes sense in the first place.
What is it about this teaching method that has resonated with so many parents and educators across the world for over a hundred years? Trends come and go, but Montessori is not a trend. Montessori education has staying power, because at the heart of it all, it just makes so much sense!
Reason #1 Why Montessori Makes Sense: Engaged Learning
“The satisfaction which they find in their work has given them a grace and ease like that which comes from music.”Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child
If you’ve ever suffered through a class you didn’t want to take in the first place, then you know that learning because you have to learn is a different experience, entirely, to learning because you want to learn. Montessori classrooms allow opportunities for children to make their own choices regarding their learning, which results in happier children who actually want to learn.
When we are active participants in our learning, we are more engaged learners. It just makes sense: give a child choices and follow their lead. They’ll show you what they need and you’ll be able to guide them to materials that help them learn.
Reason #2 Why Montessori Makes Sense: A Sensory Experience
“The hand is the instrument of intelligence. The child needs to manipulate objects and to gain experience by touching and handling.”Maria Montessori, The 1946 London Lectures
The Montessori classroom is one that has been thoughtfully designed to meet the child’s sensory needs. Everything in the room serves a purpose (and, if it doesn’t have one yet, one will be assigned to it by an astute teacher looking for a teachable moment. Ha ha!)
In our classrooms we see and learn to discern shapes, colors, and sizes. We touch and learn to identify texture, weight, and shape. We smell (well, we don’t smell, but our noses do), we taste, and we hear and we make observation and connections with the world around us.
It’s fall — we can talk about apples or we can touch, smell, and taste them. We can talk about pumpkins or we can get our hands on one! If you read last week’s post, you know that there’ll be lots to experience when we carve our classroom pumpkins next week. You’d better believe that it will be a hands-on, sensory experience!
Reason #3 Why Montessori Makes Sense: Mixed-Age Classrooms
“Children acquire knowledge through experience in the environment.”Maria Montessori, The 1946 London Lectures
If you want to understand something — really understand it — teach it to someone else. It is in the teaching that we truly learn. The Montessori classroom is designed to be a place where the youngest children learn from the older children. It is therefore also a place where the oldest children learn by showing the youngest children.
Older children in a mixed-aged classroom take on a combination role of student and teacher. This is why it is so important that a child remain in the classroom for their third year, the kindergarten year. They love being the leaders in their classroom and, in so many ways, solidify their own learning by demonstrating to their younger peers.
- The quotes referenced in this post came from The American Montessori Society’s website
- “Why Montessori Education Makes Sense“ by AnaMaria Rivera, Ed.D(c)
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