The Montessori Method
1. What is the Montessori Method?
The Montessori Method is a teaching method developed by Maria Montessori (1870-1952), an Italian physician and educator, in the early twentieth century. Over the last hundred years since its conception, the method has been successfully implemented in over 5,000 schools in the United States, Canada, India, and many other countries.
This education method strives to foster each child’s talents by providing a friendly and accepting learning environment, skilled instructors deeply trained in the Montessori philosophy, and specialized educational tools.
2. How is the Montessori Method different from other teaching methods?
- Montessori’s motto: “Study young to better teach the young.”
- Montessori classes are comprised of children of different ages. Usually, Montessori classes have children of three different age groups. In these mixed classrooms, younger children are stimulated by the fun activities of the older children. At the same time, the older children act as mentors and role models for the younger children, helping them to mature (we learn best when we can teach others) and take pride in their actions.
- Children actively choose their area of learning and pursue their interests until they want to switch to another activity. Through this process, children are prepared to be independent, self-discovering, and self-correcting of their mistakes. Adults should not “interfere” too much, especially by forcing their thoughts, ideals, or perspectives on children. Absorbing knowledge on their own accord, children will acquire new ideas naturally and easily, and will gradually be able to process new information in a discerning way.
- Children learn through experience with the help of learning tools and their fellow classmates. Each day, children get at least three hours to work with everyday objects, and teachers try not to force children who are enjoying themselves to stop their activity and join the class activity.
- Learning tools are especially designed for learning different skillsets: everyday objects help children grow physically and develop perseverance, confidence, independence, and creativity; learning equipment help children develop their observation and sensitivity; math tools help children develop their logical reasoning and accustom themselves to math concepts; science, history, and geography tools help children understand, familiarize, and integrate with their own and other societies of the world.
- The learning program and speed are based on the children’s perceptibility. Teachers must design a flexible and varied syllabus that follows the development of each child.
- Teachers play the role of adviser, guiding each student so that he can become more thoughtful, independent, and confident. Each student will stay with his teacher for three years. This will allow teachers to develop a long-lasting and close relationship with each student, understand students’ learning habits, and encourage a strong community bond among the students.
- The Montessori method does not make children compete with each other. Grades are given based on teachers’ daily notes that take into account the following criteria: attitude, actions, ideas, and most importantly, whether children feel they are happy at school and progressing in life.
3. What do children learn with the Montessori method?
- Daily actions: children get to learn how to wear clothes, brush their teeth, help their parents cook, clean the house, etc.
- Senses and observation: children will learn to observe their surrounding using all five senses through lessons, games, etc.
- Language: children are encouraged to express themselves using speech and practice letters, spelling, grammar, and writing
- Figures and basic math: Children begin to recognize numbers and shapes through Kidmarts kit and lessons
- Social Science: Children get to learn about other countries (geography), animals, time, history, music, and science.
In short, the Montessori Teaching Method fosters the overall character development of children through physical activities, senses, and mental exercises. This is a teaching method that has made non-stop progress and harvested success even after one hundred years (from 1907). This method is not only effectively applied on normal to gifted children but also in cases where children are slower to develop or physically handicapped, all over the world.
Many news sources have shown that moms, dads, and relatives are all paying special attention to the Montessori Method. Even though it is not yet widely used nationwide, at the current rate of development, hopefully all Vietnamese children will be able to learn under the most effective and progressive teaching method in the near future.