Have you heard of Montessori education but were unsure exactly what that means? Today, we are addressing that question to give you a complete overview of why Montessori education is so effective. In fact, every Montessori school has a common belief that children can learn at their own pace and develop the skills they need in life through hands-on learning.
In a Montessori school, you’ll find children who are well-adjusted, eager to learn, and respectful of their teachers. However, teachers have a less traditional role in Montessori education. Instead of being authoritarian figures who rule the classroom, they are the child’s guides to learning. They are available at all times to answer questions, solve problems, and intervene when needed.
Overview of Montessori Education Principles
Does that sound too good to be true? It’s not! Indeed, Montessori education is an effective proven teaching method that’s been around for over 100 years!
Montessori methodology was founded in Italy by Dr. Maria Montessori, who established her first school in 1903.
Dr. Montessori was a woman who defied the odds and became the first female doctor in Italy. She was an expert in early childhood development, and her research proved that children under 6 years of age flourished in a supportive environment that embraced diversity and allowed children to learn by exploring. She introduced children to sensory-stimulating materials and toys and they learned through these specific, playful experiences.
This was a radical idea at the time, but Dr. Montessori persisted despite the odds, and her methods still stand over a century later.
The 5 Goals of Montessori Education
Montessori educators today still believe that children are the aptest to learn when they are empowered to do so. The Montessori classroom allows them to foster friendships, learn, and develop critical thinking skills.
We’re going to outline the specific goals that we Montessori educators set for ourselves. Please notice that these are the goals that we set in place for ourselves. While they are aimed at educating our children, these are program goals that are common across every Montessori school.
Make Learning Joyful
Montessorians believe that learning should be joyful for young children. It shouldn’t be about a letter grade or a percentage. Learning should be accomplished through educational toys that teach children how to get along with others, solve problems for themselves and as a team, and learn through a fun hands-on approach.
Children eventually develop an appreciation for learning and become eager to continue on their educational journey when they learn in this setting.
Grow Self Confident Children
Montessori educators also want to help children become self-confident. A lack of self-confidence can inhibit the ability to learn. Children who are afraid of failure often fail for lack of trying to master a task.
Children in Montessori settings are guided by teachers who reinforce positive outcomes with praise. In addition, they applaud children for strong efforts, even if they fail. They build the children back up after a failure, and they set them on a path that will lead to an eventual successful outcome.
The result is that Montessori educated children have a self-confidence not only in their ability to learn new things but in themselves overall.
Children are naturally curious beings. It’s how they learn. Our goal is to provide educational toys, games, and materials that continually encourage children’s curiosity. This is what motivates them to explore their world, interact with new people, and discover how things work.
The result of curiosity is learning. These children learn abstract principles through their classroom interactions with learning materials.
For example, when they push a button on a learning toy, they quickly realize it makes a certain sound. To make that sound again, they must depress the exact same button for it they press the wrong button it will make a different sound. The child has just learned the abstract principle of cause and effect, even without having the language to express the terminology.
You could never explain that to a child. They need to figure it out for themselves through curiosity.
Set Children up for Educational Success
We want children in Montessori programs to be set up for long-term educational success. Think of some things that made students successful. You probably thought of points such as self-confidence, good habits, a love of learning, working well with others in the classroom.
All of these are hallmarks of Montessori principles. We know that children are capable of learning. Our job is to help them become the best learners that they can be from an early age. Those will become instilled values that will guide them throughout the rest of their educational journey and extend into adulthood.
Establish “Can Do” Attitudes
Children in Montessori programs are able to learn at their own pace even within a group setting. Because of this, they are able to interact with the learning materials as much as they need to, for as long as they need. We don’t place value on how quickly children master a skill or task, we place focus on whether or not they accomplish it eventually.
This teaches Montessori children to be persistent, never give up, and develop a “can do” attitude.
This is a skill that will prove to be very valuable in life. After all, critics certainly told Dr. Montessori herself that she couldn’t be a lady doctor. But her persistence and diligence in her studies along with her can do attitude left a legacy that our children still benefit from today.
The Bottom Line
The Montessori story is far from over. In fact, many of us believe that it’s more relevant now than ever before.
We are living in a world of uncertainty and chaos. Our young children are tomorrow’s leaders. Should we not teach them in a diverse classroom that transcends social, economic, gender, religious or other biases? In a Montessori classroom, we believe that all children can learn. It’s up to us, as adults, to guide them in the process and establish the environment in which they will succeed.