Montessori is a way of learning modeled from the teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori. It is a teaching that believes children are capable of self-directed learning. The teacher is an observer of the child, rather than a lecturer to the child. In other classrooms you will find children being directed from one activity to the next whereas we utilize a long morning “work” period that allows the child to pick the work they want to do. In a Montessori school you will hear the word “work” a lot. It means play and Montessori is famous for the quote “play is the work of the child.” She believed that play should be purposeful.
By lengthening the time in the classroom allowing for more play/work and not running from one activity to the next, it gets a child past “false fatigue.” False fatigue refers to a loss of focus about one hour into the “work” cycle. The classroom begins to get louder as the students become distracted or hyper. Most would read this as a good time to end an activity, but this is when the best learning happens for a child. We live in a world now where we have constant distractions and our goal is to help our children concentrate and focus on completing tasks so they can become competent, successful adults.
When you enter one of our classrooms you will often find the children quietly working individually honing the skills they need to develop on their own while the teacher observes. By allowing the child to work independently it nurtures the child’s love of learning.
We believe children should be intrinsically motivated to learn, the opposite of using rewards to get results. Montessori used the term "sensitive periods'' to describe periods in child development when children are particularly susceptible to certain stimuli. Children's inner drive will steer them toward an activity that is appropriate and necessary for their own growth and development. For example, the sensitive period for math is age 4 and you will often find a 4 year old in a Montessori classroom learning the decimal system and counting in the thousands and very proud of themselves.
In our classroom, you will find all learning materials available on the shelf at child height for them to easily access, one work at a time which is very different from play stations on tables. Each learning material is designed so the child can figure it out on their own without the teaching interfering in the learning process. Montessori teachings believe children learn by doing. The culture of the classroom is devoted to helping each child grow toward independence by building confidence, competence, self-esteem and respect for others. More than an approach to education, Montessori is an approach to life!
Clare Healy Walls: "At the heart of Montessori." Vol. 1 - 6 Original writing.
Vatland / Lexow, "Montessori - an introduction," Montessori Press.
Maria Montessori: "From Childhood to adolescence." Schoeck Books Inc.