What is The Montessori 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 that the years between birth and six years are those with 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.
Today, certified Montessori directresss and special Montessori teaching materials incorporate this curiosity into a modern learning experience.
Ages vs. Stages
Unlike some daycare 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. They are as young as 6 weeks old and up to about 8 months.
- Toddler Rooms: Children in the toddler room range from 8 months to about 36 months. Children who are crawling or rolling deserve lots of floor time and are separated from older walking/running children to avoid any collision accidents. The older toddlers are considered those who have dropped their morning nap, are not using bottles, and are eating table foods.
Every child develops at a different rate, so it is important to ensure they master certain skills in a safe, encouraging environment.
The Five Areas of Montessori Education
The Montessori Method’s prepared environment includes the following five areas:
- Practical Life
Each of these areas builds 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.