Are you considering the Montessori curriculum for your child? If so, you’re not alone. See why this curriculum is so popular worldwide!
You have probably heard of the Montessori curriculum. It is widely employed in private schools and home school environments, as well as preschools and religious education institutions. There are so many ways to apply its teachings - but what does the curriculum actually teach?
What sets Montessori apart? Why are so many educators and families fans of this laid-back way of learning? Who stands to benefit the most from this style of teaching and which schools are best suited to it?
Here’s everything you need to know to get started with the Montessori curriculum - and see how it will benefit your child and your family.
Where Did the Montessori Curriculum Originate?
A woman named Maria Montessori - an Italian educator - created the Montessori curriculum in 1907. Her goal was simple - an educational approach that allowed children to fully embrace and experience childhood, all while learning with a hands-on approach. This idea has taken hold around the world since its creation and has become a popular choice for parents who want something different than the traditional western educational experience for their child.
Where is Montessori Primarily Employed?
Because of the flexibility of the Montessori curriculum, it can easily be employed in a variety of educational settings. These range from public and private schools - more frequently the latter - to home school settings and independent preschools. It is also commonly used in international schools.
What Does the Montessori Classroom Look Like?
The difference between the Montessori classroom and a traditional classroom is one of the starkest differences between the two approaches. After all, the entire idea of Montessori instruction is to allow children to have the freedom to move around, explore, experience their education in a hands-on way, and make mistakes as they do. Children are encouraged to work alone on some projects while working in groups on others. This kind of freestyle learning requires a very different classroom setup - and that is exactly what you can expect if your child’s school utilizes the Montessori curriculum.
The most common setups for these classrooms - referred to as “prepared environments” - uses groups of desks in “stations” where students are free to sit and work on whatever assignment they choose. During other parts of the day, small groups use various exploratory items around the room to learn new concepts with their hands and engage with other students. This builds social skills, motor skills, listening and direction-following, as well as leadership skills in students in mentor positions. Students of various ages will be in a classroom together, as instruction moves by stage instead of age and allows for older and more experienced students to act as mentors to their younger peers. It is modeled after real-world environments and helps children better prepare for life in that world.
Breaking Down the Montessori Curriculum - What to Expect
There are numerous differences in the way Montessori environments approach instruction, but some of the most noticeable are also some of the most foundational to the approach itself.
Children of various ages will participate in activities and attend class in the same room. Those children will be given uninterrupted blocks of time to work through various activities and projects, either alone or in small groups or pairs. That freedom of choice means that children can essentially lead their own learning and structure their own day to an extent, which helps them learn better time management skills.
Many of the tasks and activities that children engage in during the Montessori school day are guided by their teacher, but not directly led by them. Instead, teachers in these rooms act as supervisors, offering minimal instruction and allowing children to participate and work through activities with their peers. They spend time with each child individually during the day, giving them one-on-one instruction and assistance where it is needed and answering questions. This individualized support is one of the many reasons so many parents and students alike love this approach.
Lastly, Montessori encourages students to participate in their own education through hands-on learning. Activities, not assignments, are the focus of school days. While tests and quizzes may be used, they are not the primary method of checking for understanding. Instead, classroom discussions and demonstrations make up most of the assessment process.
Benefits of the Montessori Approach
There are so many documented benefits of employing the Montessori approach. Just a few of these include:
Learning social skills in a natural way.
Focus on hitting developmental milestones, rather than recalling specific facts.
Encouraging personal responsibility and self-discipline.
Individually-tailored educational approach.
Encouraged creativity and critical thinking.
Arts education is incorporated right into the curriculum.
All of these benefits make this a perfect choice for young children, especially. If you’re looking for a great structure for your preschool or nursery school child, opt for the Montessori approach. You will love the way your youngster learns!