Montessori education is a different approach to teaching children. It has shown to be successful with all kids, but has a special significance for children who have special needs. From the materials used to the method employed in the classroom, the Montessori environment is innovative and inclusive, putting a focus on children and encouraging them to enjoy learning and classroom activities.
The Origins of Montessori
Maria Montessori, the founder of the Montessori Method, began her career working with special needs children and those labeled by the society of the time as handicapped or even unteachable. She discovered that these children, far from being impossible to teach, were able to perform much better when their education was paired with their individual interests. Later, when the first Montessori schools began to open, Maria’s Montessori method became a cornerstone of the educational process, including the arrangement of the classroom, the materials used, and fostering the relationship between children and their instructors.
Classroom Layout and Materials
The Montessori classroom is designed around the children. To begin with, everything is built and arranged to fit child-sized bodies, including the desks and tables, pictures on the walls, and other furniture. Next, interest centers are spaced around classroom, each containing a different assortment of activities and educational tools designed for specific subjects or interests. This allows children to spend more time at learning centers they are comfortable with and slowly move to new and different interests centers as they progress.
Engagement is Crucial
Keeping special needs students involved in a positive and informative way is the critical aspect of the Montessori classroom. With the Montessori method, special needs children are engaged and empowered. They are encouraged to explore ideas and form classroom interactions in ways that traditional classrooms are not prepared for. The result is a child, whether they have special needs or not, that considers himself an important and productive part of the classroom.
Special Needs and Inclusive Environments
Because the prepared Montessori environment provides a consistent framework, it is appealing to children affected by autism and other attention-deficit conditions. It works exceptionally well, for example, with children who are autistic because those children are resistant to – or even rebellious against – change. Montessori allows them to experience regularity in daily activities and gives each child the reassurance that the entire environment is friendly and comfortable.
From classroom design to innovative tools and a child-focused teaching process, Montessori schools have great promise in helping special needs children learn. Even the smaller class sizes mean that educators are able to spend more time with each child, which helps special needs children learn and grow.
The teachers and staff at Day Star Montessori School see each child as their own unique person and are ready to support students of varying abilities. The Montessori method encourages inclusion and self-guided learning, which works well for children with special needs. To learn how our school embraces every student, contact us today to schedule a tour.