What is Montessori?
“Our aim is not merely to make children understand, and still less to force them to memorize, but so to touch their imaginations as to enthuse them to their innermost core”
– Maria Montessori
Dr. Montessori (1870-1952) was first an Italian physician-educator. In the early part of the 20th century, Maria Montessori began her work with the underprivileged children of Rome. Through extensive scientific observations and insight, she developed an approach to child education that revolutionized educational thought. Her method placed emphasis on the potential of the child and preparation for life.
Maria Montessori believed that children are born with a natural curiosity and desire to learn about the world around them. She believed in the period of the “Absorbent mind” i.e. from birth to 6 years of age, where a child has miraculous powers to absorb effortlessly anything from their environment. Our role as adults is to provide them with tools and environment to let them explore, sense and learn.
The Montessori classroom is a carefully prepared environment that allows children to interact with the materials to maximize independent learning. The Montessori materials respond to the child’s natural curiosity and desire to learn. Working with the Montessori materials, the children are able to associate an abstract concept with concrete sensorial experience. This enables the Montessori child to truly learn, and not memorize. Young children need to touch, feel, see, sense and move through their world to gain understanding and experience. The Montessori experience allows them to do this and is designed for children to learn at their own pace.
The Goals of Montessori Education
- To nurture a positive attitude towards learning
- To develop self confidence
- To develop concentration
- To foster natural curiosity
- To develop initiative and persistence
- To foster inner security and sense of order
- To develop sensory – motor skills
- To encourage creative thinking
Through her many years in working with children in her Casa Dei Bambini (Children’s house), Dr. Montessori developed numerous exciting activities for young children. She organized these exercises into five avenues: Practical life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics and Culture.
Practical life: The practical life activities enable the Montessori child to improve and refine his fine motor skills. They satisfy his desire for independence and self help. Care of person, care of environment, development of social relationship, grace and courtesy are all part of practical life activities.
Sensorial: Exercises assist the child to develop, broaden and refine sense of perception through colour, shape, size, form, sound, touch, taste and smell. The clear and simple construction of the sensorial materials appeals to the child.
Mathematics: The Montessori materials in the Mathematics area allow the child to experience mathematical concepts concretely. The materials help the child to make the transition from concrete to abstract with ease.
Language: In Montessori we follow the phonetic approach. Reading and writing skills are developed through sounds of which speech is made. “I Spy” games, sand paper letters, puppet shows, stories, talking stick, and logical puzzles are all used to make the child interested in language and broaden his vocabulary.
Culture: The culture activities encompass history, botany, zoology and physical science. Materials such as puzzle maps, leaf cabinets, and animal classification puzzles enable the child to explore, classify and understand our wondrous world.
French and Mandarin: The Casa children will be taught French & Mandarin on a regular basis. The emphasis of the French and Mandarin languge programs is to make the study of foreign language interesting and enjoyable. This is achieved through group activities, songs, games, stories and pictures that expand the child’s vocabulary and encourage conversation.
Yoga: Yoga is taught to all classes by Ms. Anahita.
In addition to the above, children at The Radiant Way Montessori enjoy music, dance and drama, art and outdoor activities on a daily basis.
The most sensitive, most delicate of instruments: the mind of the little child.
– Maria Montessori