Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions

Q - What is Montessori?
A - Montessori is a philosophy based on the fundamental belief that a child learns best within a social environment which supports each individual's unique development.

Q - How did it begin?
A - Dr. Maria Montessori, the creator of what is now called "The Montessori Method of Education", based this method on her observations of children's behavior in 1907. Dr. Montessori's dynamic theories included such premises as:
1. Children are to be respected as different from adults and as individuals who are different from one another.
2. Children create themselves through purposeful activity.
3. Children possess unusual sensitivity and mental powers for absorbing and learning from their environment, which include people as well as materials

Q - What makes Montessori education unique?
A - There are 4 unique aspects to a Montessori education:
1. The Whole Child approach. The primary goal of a Montessori program is to help each child reach full potential in all areas of life.
2. The Prepared Environment. In order for self-directed learning to take place, the whole learning environment, room, materials and social climate must be supportive of the learner.
3. The Montessori Materials. Dr. Montessori's observations led her to design a number of multi-sensory, sequential and self-correcting materials which facilitate the learning of skills and concepts.
4. The Teacher. After extensive training, the Montessori teacher functions as a facilitator of learning, designer of the classroom environment, resource person, role model, demonstrator, record keeper and observer of each child's behavior and growth.

Q - How does it work?
A - Each Montessori classroom operates on the principle of freedom within limits. Each class has its own set of basic rules. The rules differ according to age and development, but are always based on respect for each other and for the environment. Children are free to work at their own pace in a carefully prepared classroom with materials, either alone or with others. The aim is to encourage active self-directed learning and to create a balance of individual mastery with small group collaboration within the whole group community. Two or three year age span in each class provides a family like grouping. More experienced children share what they have learned while reinforcing their own learning. This peer group learning is intrinsic to Montessori.

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