To grasp the essence of Montessori education, just step inside a classroom. Beautiful, inviting, and thoughtfully arranged, the room embodies each element of Maria Montessori’s revolutionary approach.
Natural lighting, soft colours, and uncluttered spaces set the stage for activity that is focused and calm. Learning materials are displayed on accessible shelves, fostering independence as students go about their work. Everything is where it is supposed to be, conveying a sense of harmony and order that both comforts and inspires.
In this safe and empowering environment, students find joy in learning.
Montessori Learning Materials
A hallmark of Montessori education is its hands-on approach to learning. Students work with specially designed materials, manipulating and investigating until they master the lesson inside. Beautifully crafted and begging to be touched, Montessori’s distinctive learning materials are displayed on open, easily accessible shelves. They are arranged (left to right, as we read in Western languages) in order of their sequence in the curriculum, from the simplest to the most complex.
Each material teaches a single skill or concept at a time—for example, the various “dressing frames” help toddlers learn to button, zip, and tie; 3-dimensional grammar symbols help elementary students analyze sentence structure and style. And, built into many of the materials is a mechanism (“control of error”) for providing the student with some way of assessing her progress and correcting her mistakes, independent of the teacher.
The concrete materials provide passages to abstraction and introduce concepts that become increasingly complex. As students’ progress, the teacher replaces some materials with others, ensuring that the level of challenge continues to meet their needs.
Your children’s education and welfare are our main priorities
A Montessori class is composed of students whose ages typically span 3 years. Ideally, members stay with the class, and teacher, for the entire cycle, forging a stable community and meaningful bonds.
It is common to see students of different ages working together. Older students enjoy mentoring their younger classmates—sometimes the best teacher is someone who has recently mastered the task at hand. Younger students look up to their big “brothers” and “sisters,” and get a preview of the alluring work to come.
A Caring Community
The Montessori classroom radiates harmony and respect. Members address each other respectfully and in modulated tones. There are no raised voices; no rude or hurtful behaviour. There is a busy hum of activity, yet also a profound respect for silence. Students show grace and courtesy, and an interest in the welfare of others. “Let me help!” is a common classroom refrain.
Students work together as stewards of their environment. They take turns caring for classroom pets and plants; do their part to maintain order, such as by returning materials to the shelves after use; and help keep outdoor spaces groomed and litter-free.
How-to live-in community, to learn independently, to think constructively and creatively: These are the lessons of the Montessori classroom that remain with its students as they make their way in the world.
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