The Montessori Method Of Education
The Montessori Method of education compliments the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. It was founded by Dr. Maria Montessori, Italy’s first female physician who was interested in how children learn. Dr. Maria Montessori created intriguing materials that invite children to manipulate, explore and cultivate their individual initiative, curiosity and motivation, the key qualities of a life-long learner.
Dr. Maria Montessori also understood that the classroom should be carefully arranged to provide freedom to explore and the guidance from a carefully trained teacher. Learning becomes for all children a joyful path on which they are guided by their innate curiosity and delight in discovery.(Montessori, 1986)
Studies have confirmed Dr. Maria Montessori’s belief that intellectual skills develop when a child’s learning process stimulates as many senses as possible. Montessori education engages children emotionally as well as physically with intriguing, hands-on materials and appropriately challenging concepts. As they grow through a Montessori education which compliment the EYFS Framework, children develop their aesthetic, artistic sense and learn both what Dr. Maria Montessori called the Practical Life Skills of everyday living as well as the disciplines of language arts, mathematics, science, art, music, geography and history. They become confident and eager learners. (Montessori, 1986)
The Prepared Environment
There is a sense of warmth when you come into our secured nursery school. Trust is our motto between our nursery staff and the parents. We maintain ratios in line with Ofsted Standard. Our primary consideration in the day to day running of our services is your child’s safety and security. We have established safety measures to respond to emergencies and refer cases beyond our control to other professionals with your expressed permission and consent. Our classrooms have high-quality, educational, hands-on Montessori materials. In this safe and nurturing environment, learning and growth are free to blossom with independence and freedom within limits and a sense of order.
Our play equipment conforms to the European Standards for Playground Equipment: EN 1176 and BS EN 1177. Brockwell Park is accessed once a week in order to engage the interest of the children in our local community and also use the vast space available in the park with modern wooden equipment that enhance gross motor development. (We use the park as our Forest School for Montessori teaching. All safety measures for this outside engagements are put in place before embarking on visits)
The Montessori materials contain a “control of error” which allows the child to detect mistakes and correct himself/herself, giving a sense of achievement and self-esteem throughout every day. This play is the work of creating the person each child will become.
The Montessori Education Philosophy as told by Maria Montessori is;
“To aid life, leaving it free, however, to unfold itself, that is the basic task of the educator.
‘’And so we discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being. It is not acquired by listening to words, but in virtue of experiences in which the child acts on his environment. The teacher’s task is not to talk, but to prepare and arrange a series of motives for learning activity in a special environment made for the child using motivating resources’’.
Reference:- Dr. Maria Montessori
(The Absorbent Mind 1949)
Frequently Asked Questions
What ages do Montessori schools serve?
Currently, most Montessori programs begin at the Early Childhood level (for children ages 2.5 – 6 years). However there are also programs for infants and toddlers (birth – age 3). The benefits of Montessori at this age includes the emphasis on independent learning and the warm, supportive community they’ll belong to at the setting—continue to be important at each stage of development as children grow into lifelong learners and responsible citizens of the world among peers of different backgrounds and origins.
How many students are typically in a Montessori class?
Unlike some private schools, which strive for very small classes, Montessori values the lessons of community that can happen when the size of the class is somewhat moderate. A moderate, multi-age class can encourage children to rely on themselves and their peers as resources, rather than going directly to a teacher for support first.
Montessori classes at the Early Childhood level and above might include 20 – 25 children whose ages span 4 years. All members of the community benefit from this configuration. Older students are proud to act as role models; younger ones feel supported and gain confidence about the challenges ahead. And all children develop their independence as they problem solve with their peers within their classroom community.
Classes for infants and toddlers are smaller, with typically 15 children. Often the teacher-to-child ratio for this youngest age group is set by Ofsted. (1: 3 and 1: 5 1: 8)
Why do Montessori teachers encourage my young child to be independent?
Helping a child to develop independence and self-sufficiency is a hallmark of Montessori programs. Children who are independent and make self-directed choices develop self-confidence and experience pride when they accomplish their goals.
In the Montessori classroom, young children are supported to become autonomous in caring for their personal needs and in taking care of their classroom environment. Children are given freedom of movement and choice over their activities in the classroom and are encouraged and supported to “do it for themselves.”
Montessori children are self-confident learners who believe in their own abilities to accomplish a task. This confidence and self-reliance sets the stage for all future learning.
Can Montessori accommodate gifted children? What about children with other special learning needs?
An advantage of the Montessori approach—including multi-age classrooms with children of varying abilities and interests—is that it allows each child to work at his or her own pace. Children whose strengths and interests propel them to higher levels of learning can find intellectual challenge without being separated from their peers. The same is true for children who may need extra guidance and support, children with special educational needs can reach his or her full potential through the EYFS curriculum her own comfortable pace, without feeling pressure to “catch up.”
From a Montessori perspective, every child is considered gifted, each in his own way. Every child has unique strengths and interests that the Montessori environment nurtures and supports.
Do Montessori teachers follow a curriculum?
Montessori schools teach the same basic skills as detailed in the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. Most of the subject areas are familiar—such as math, science, history, geography, and language—but they are presented through an integrated approach that weaves separate strands of the curriculum together.
While studying a leaf, for example, children may explore the trees, part of the tree, its origin, creativity and art, benefits to the environment, humans, animals and so on.
This approach to curriculum demonstrates the interrelatedness of all things. It also allows children to become thoroughly immersed in a topic—and to give their curiosity full rein.
Is it true that Montessori children are free to do whatever they want, and at their own pace?
Dr. Maria Montessori observed that children are more motivated to learn when working on something of their own choosing, and at their own unique pace. Montessori children may choose her focus of learning on any given day, but her decision is limited by the materials and activities—in each area of the curriculum—that her teacher has prepared and presented to her.
Beginning at the preschool level, children typically set learning goals and create personal work plans under their teacher’s guidance.
If children work at their own pace, don't they fall behind?
Although children are free to work at their own pace, they’re not doing it alone. The Montessori teacher closely observes each child and provides materials and activities that advance his/her learning by building on skills and knowledge already gained. This gentle guidance helps each child master the challenge at hand—and protects him/her from moving on before he’s ready, which is often what causes children to “fall behind.” Each child is challenged appropriately in each area of the EYFS to ensure that skills and competencies are fully developed and that the child is able to pursue his own unique interests.
Why are Montessori schools all work and no play?
This is a common misunderstanding of Montessori education. Dr. Montessori realised that children’s play is their work—their effort to master their own bodies and environment—and out of respect she used the term “work” to describe all their classroom activities. Montessori children work hard, but they don’t experience it as drudgery; rather, it’s an expression of their natural curiosity and desire to learn. They engage in these activities with joy, interests, fun and focus—intent on mastering new skills independently!
Is it true that Montessori students have the same teacher for all subjects?
Montessori teachers are educated as “generalists,” qualified to teach all sections of the curriculum. Our other teachers have degrees in Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and others with Early Years and Education Level 3, 4 and 5.
Do Montessori schools assign homework?
Parents are encouraged to share reading time with their children to develop the love for books and reading. Colouring, tracing, naming items and make believe story time are encouraged at home to support children’s learning from nursery to home and home to nursery.
I’ve heard that Montessori teachers don’t really teach. Is this true? If so, what do they do?
When you observe a Montessori teacher at work you may be surprised! You will not see her standing in front of the classroom teaching the same lesson to the entire class, because the Montessori curriculum is individualized to the needs, interests, and learning style of each child. Often you will find her on the floor, working with an individual child. With the older children, she may be giving a small group lesson, or demonstrating a lesson or activity that the children will then complete on their own.
One of the many roles of the Montessori teacher is to observe each child and the classroom community as a whole and make adaptations to the environment and lesson-planning as needed to support each child’s development. As the Montessori teacher observes, he is determining when and how to introduce a new challenging lesson to a student, and when to review a previous lesson if a skill has not yet been mastered.
While a Montessori child may choose her activities on any given day, her decisions are limited by the materials and activities in each area of the curriculum that the teacher has prepared and presented to her. The teacher’s observations inform each child’s personalized learning plan and allow each child to move through the curriculum at an appropriate pace and level of challenge.
Why don’t Montessori teachers give grades?
Montessori children typically do not receive number grades or rewards for their work. Grades/rewards have little lasting effect on a child’s efforts or achievements. The Montessori approach nurtures the motivation that comes from within, kindling the child’s natural desire to learn.
A self-motivated learner also learns to be self-sufficient, without needing reinforcement from outside. In the classroom, of course, the teacher is always available to provide children with guidance and support.
Although most Montessori teachers don’t give rewards, they closely and continuously observe and assess each child’s progress and readiness to advance to new lessons. We hold parents conference once a month so that parents may see samples of their child’s work and hear the teacher’s assessment—and perhaps even their child’s self development video.
How will my child transition to non Montessori reception class when he/she leaves Cute Kids?
If your child transitions out of Cute Kids Montessori environment to another type of program in a reception class, she is likely to thrive socially and academically. He or she will Poised, self-reliant, independence, and thrive successfully as he/she used to working harmoniously as part of a classroom community, this will continue, solid self worth and self esteem, children who move from Montessori typically adjust quickly to the ways of their new reception class as they are ready to face the world in a new community with healthy challenges.
How well do Montessori children do compared to children in non-Montessori settings?
A growing body of research comparing Montessori children to those in traditional settings suggests that in learning and development , Montessori children perform as well as or better—academically and socially—than their non-Montessori peers. These benefits grow as children have more experience in a Montessori environment and where the children uses materials that provides real-world skills, such as using scissors and other utensils, washing dishes, gardening, and more. Gaining these skills helps to develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination and also begins to expose the child to the process of selecting, setting up, completing, and cleaning up an activity (Marshall, 2017).
The next sets of materials that are introduced to the children are sensorial materials that help develop and strengthen the five senses. For example, a child might be tasked with pairing cylinders with the same sounds together.
An important part of the sensorial materials is that they only incorporate one sense – there is nothing else to distract or further inform the child (for example, the cylinders that have the same sound would not be coloured the same; Marshall, 2017).
Once the child has mastered both basic fine motor and sensorial skills, they will transition into traditional academic subjects. In the literacy curriculum, children are taught phonics, the fine motor skills of writing (the way to grip the pencil and write letters), and how to write before they learn to read (Marshall, 2017).
For mathematics, children first learn single-digit numbers and what they mean, and then they begin to learn larger quantities and fractions. The children will then learn the order of operations (Marshall, 2017).
All subjects in the EYFS curriculum are introduced with concrete materials. The goal is to have the child learn through movement and gain an understanding of concrete concepts before moving on to more abstract ones (Marshall, 2017). All these skills may gradually be introduced according to age in traditional settings and its introduction taught differently to the children according to a set guideline instead of the children owning these set guidelines themselves and working on their innate desires and interests.
Man successful celebrities cites their years at Montessori when reflecting on the important influences in their life