A Montessori Education
What is Montessori?
Montessori is an approach to working with children that is carefully based on what has been learned about children’s cognitive, neurological and emotional development. The Montessori approach has been acclaimed by some of America’s top experts on early childhood and elementary education as the most developmentally appropriate model currently available. The Montessori method focuses on teaching for understanding. Active learning through hands-on activities and exercises rather than “book learning” is emphasized in order to encourage the development of the creative and analytical mind.
Every Montessori school specializes in different aspects of a child’s development. Although every Montessori classroom is unique, the following characteristics are at the heart of the Montessori Education.
When we combine the Montessori equipment with child sized tables and chairs, low stimulation and teachers eager to assist the child’s exploration, we call this the prepared environment. After the child has been taught how to use each set of materials, he or she is free to select materials independently and allowed to study his or her chosen materials uninterrupted. The prepared environment will look different at each level of education, but the principles that remain unchanged are order, beauty and simplicity.
Dr. Montessori determined that each child’s individual development occurred systematically in predictable steps roughly according to age. She organized these steps into four planes and contained within the planes are “sensitive periods.” A Montessori education respects, enhances and utilizes the individual child’s natural evolution through these planes.
- First Plane: Absorptive Period (Birth to 3) & Sensorial Period (3 - 6 years)
- Second Plane: Intellectual or Conceptual (6 - 12 years)
- Third Plane: Humanistic (12 - 18 years)
- Fourth Plane: Specialization (18 - 24 years)
Why Montessori? Does a Montessori education really prepare children for the real world? The answer is “Yes!” The Method has proven to be effective for over 90 years in tens of thousands of Montessori Schools around the world. At Santa Monica Montessori School, our primary goal is to foster independence in each child, develop initiative, encourage the development of a creative mind, develop inner discipline and most importantly, a lifetime love of learning.
Children teach themselves. This simple but profound truth inspired Montessori’s lifelong pursuit of educational reform with the goal of inspiring children to achieve academic and personal excellence. Our well trained Montessori teachers guide each child through sequential learning materials in our prepared environment. We specialize in individual attention to guide a child’s individual emotional, character and intellectual development.
Next to the family, the school is the most important social institution through which we prepare the next generation. In a Montessori classroom, children work together with children their own age, as well as younger and older children. In addition, the respect that they are given from the teachers and their classmates supports the development of the child’s self esteem, an important component of social development.
Montessori education is one of the most sophisticated pre-collegiate programs available anywhere in North America. It has been described as the ultimate program to bring out the “gifted” in each child. Each classroom is designed around a specific plane of development, allowing each child to be educated according to his or her sensitive period, when he or she can most readily absorb specific information.
This WebMD article is entitled Montessori Kids: Academic Advantage?
A Montessori education is focused on teaching for understanding. Active learning through hands-on activities and exercises rather than “book learning” is emphasized in order to encourage the development of the creative and analytical mind. Dr. Montessori always emphasized that the hand is the chief teacher of the child. All equipment in a Montessori classroom allows a child to use their hands in the learning process. The tactile and kinesthetic system of learning permanently reinforces the skill to be learned – ‘muscular memory’ is a strong tool in the classroom. The special equipment that Dr. Montessori used is called “auto-didactic” which means “self-correcting”. Today, we refer to these tools as “Montessori equipment” or just “materials.”