Montessori Early Educational Method
The Montessori Method is an educational method and philosophy that recognizes children’s natural curiosity and desire to learn. The name originates from Dr. Maria Montessori, Italy’s first female medical doctor. Born in 1870, Dr. Montessori studied the behavior and development and children to create a new environment for learning. Dr. Montessori perceived the years between birth and six years as the period when people showed the greatest potential for learning. For this “sensitive period” in a child’s life Dr. Montessori designed the “prepared environment [where] the child, set free from undue adult intervention, can live its life according to the laws of its development.” In 1907, she founded the first Montessori school in Rome, Casa dei Bambini, or “Children’s House.” Since this time, her methods have been celebrated and continued in the world of early childhood education.
The Montessori Method Today
Today, certified Montessori directresses and special Montessori teaching materials incorporate this curiosity into a modern learning experience.
Ages vs. Stages
Unlike some day care centers that separate children by age, Montessori classrooms are separated by developmental stages. North American Montessori Child Care schools teach children from 6 weeks to 6 years, but whether a child belongs in an infant room, a transition room, a toddler room, or a pre-school room is determined by what skills they have accomplished.
- Infant Rooms: The youngest, most dependent children are put into infant rooms.
- Transition Rooms: A child who is crawling or rolling deserves lots of floor time. These children are separated from older walking/running children to avoid any collision accidents.
- Toddler Rooms: Once a child is dropping their morning nap, not using bottles, and eating table foods, they are ready for a toddler room.
Every child develops at a different rate, so it is important to ensure they master certain skills in a safe, encouraging environment.
The Five Branches of the Montessori Method
The Montessori Method’s prepared environment includes the following five areas:
- Practical Life
Each of these areas build on logical and creative tasks and experiences to allow your child to grow in a well-rounded variety of ways. The Montessori directress, the Montessori equipment, and the prepared environment all stimulate and encourage children to learn. Children learn by associating an abstract concept with a concrete sensorial experience rather than purely by memorization. By incorporating learning on every cognitive level, the Montessori method stimulates your child’s healthy early development.
Various cognitive, developmental, and life skills can be taught through direct hands-on experiences. The Montessori Method believes the best way to encourage learning is through prepared environments, or a place where objects, floor plans, and activities are designed specifically to inspire and support a child’s learning process. The prepared environment of the Montessori classroom is supplied with didactic (self-teaching) materials that can be manipulated by the children. The materials are designed to foster independence, develop a healthy self-concept, encourage thinking, and give an appreciation of nature and the world.
“Directress” vs. “Teacher”
While it may seem like just semantics, North American Montessori takes the role of “director” or “directress” seriously. Unlike the stereotypical “teacher” role, who stands in front of a class and dictates what they should be learning through a three step process:
- The Directress shows the child the skill they should learn.
- The Directress oversees the child as they attempt to perform the skill.
- The child practices and masters the skill on their own.
This process encourages the child’s unique joy for learning and improves their self confidence.
Do You Think a Montessori Child Care Center is For You?
Call one of North American Montessori’s child care centers today to set up a tour, enroll a child in our schools, or simply to learn more about the benefits of choosing a child care center as the new caregiver for your child.