If you’re looking for a positive learning environment for your child, a Montessori school may be for you. Designed over a hundred years ago by the Italian doctor and educator Maria Montessori, this educational system anticipated the modern movement toward play-based, child-centered education. The Montessori philosophies are unique, though, as you will find.
Here are a few of the Montessori philosophies that stand out in any authentic Montessori program.
- Child-centered: Maria Montessori actually said that education should “follow the child,” which is why child-based education is one of the most important Montessori philosophies. Therefore children are given plenty of choice during their work cycles, including the ability to choose what they play with and where they prefer to work.
- Play-based: What seems like “just play” to you is actually teaching your child valuable lessons. Kids learn many different things from playing. They practice skills and explore concepts in ways they can’t in traditional education models. Because play is so important to Montessori philosophies, sessions are referred to as “work cycles,” and play is respected as being the child’s work. Work cycles generally last about three hours, and should be uninterrupted to allow students to get the most from this time.
- Discovery: Instead of being taught how to do things, Montessori students are encouraged to explore on their own. Whereas in a traditional preschool you might find the children all being given the same materials and shown how to arrange them the same way in order to produce an end result, the Montessori method introduces the concept, emphasizing creativity and exploration rather than rote learning and a uniform end result.
- Mixed-age classrooms: Montessori philosophies originally called for mixed-age classrooms that would enable older, more proficient kids to help the younger kids. Instead of the teachers helping an entire classroom of younger kids, older kids are called upon to share their knowledge, encouraging collaboration and leadership, and instilling confidence.
These Montessori philosophies may have been formed more than a hundred years ago, but they represent the lifetime work of Dr. Montessori. She put her ideas to work in her practice and in her schools, carefully developing her method through her advanced education and personal experiences. Even a century later, Montessori represents one of the top names in early childhood education.
Whether you started your search looking for a Montessori school, or just found your way here through your research on play-based and child-centered education, the Montessori method can be life changing. To find out how the Montessori philosophies can benefit your child’s education, contact us today to schedule a tour of Day Star Montessori.