Montessori is a revolutionary method of observing and supporting the natural development of children that has been tested world-wide for over 100 years.
Montessori educational practice helps children develop creativity, problem solving, critical thinking and time-management skills, care of the environment, and compassion. It prepares them to contribute to society and to become fulfilled persons. The basis of Montessori practice in the classroom is mixed age group (3 – 6 ages in one class), individual choice of research and work, and uninterrupted concentration. Because children enjoy their work they remember what they learn.
When it comes to preschools in India, the term Montessori is loosely and erroneously used to describe all nursery schools. What is not widely known is that Montessori is actually a method of teaching and a Montessori school differs greatly from a conventional school. It is also the most popular approach of teaching in preschools in the western world.
Montessori education derives from the work of educationist Maria Montessori, who discovered that children learn from their environment and relatively little from listening to a teacher in class. The Montessori Method of teaching helps the child identify and develop their interest in their own way and at their own pace. The Montessori ethos is that a child is an individual who has been born with a true nature. It is the teacher’s job to help reveal this nature and ensure that they utilise their full potential, in a joyful manner.
Maria Montessori demonstrated that all children are capable of learning the things that they need to know. By getting to know the children whom she was teaching (by constant observation of the child), she understood what they needed and went on to create an environment in which they could learn about those things for themselves. The principle legacy that she has left for today’s parents and teachers is the idea that all children are capable of achieving great things when simply given what they need.
In a nutshell, the Montessori approach to education is child centered and based on mutual respect and co-operation. The teacher in a Montessori Classroom is more of a guide and facilitator, respecting the concentration and varied learning approaches of each child in the classroom.