It is hard to find a parent who has never heard of Montessori kindergartens and schools – they are almost in every city. It is difficult to overestimate Dr. Maria Montessori’s impact on education. She forever changed the attitudes of adults and children, creating a strong community. In this guest post, Alexis talks about the features of her technique, the basic principles, and its advantages.
Intro on Dr. Maria Montessori and her impact on education
Maria Montessori (August 31, 1870 – May 6, 1952) was an Italian educator. She was one of the first female doctors of the 19th century to create her own pedagogical system.
Montessori always fought for justice. While working as a doctor’s assistant in a psychiatric clinic, she talked a lot with children with disabilities. She worried that no one was taking care of them.
But, education is necessary for everyone! Thus, Maria and her husband began to develop methods for the development of children. Initially, only for children with developmental delays.
Later convinced of the success of the educational and development system she put forward, Maria adapted it for all children. She realized that classical methods were not always effective.
This is how the Montessori development methodology began, named after its creator.
Philosophy of Montessori pedagogy
Briefly, the philosophy of the methodology fits into the phrase: “To send children to independent education, training and development.”
This is justified by the following theses:
- A child is a unique personality
- All children are naturally given the desire to improve themselves and love work
- Parents and teachers should be simply helpers in unleashing the child’s potential and not sculptures of character and abilities
- Teachers and parents should only correctly direct the independent activities of children, and not teach them anything
Principles and the freedom of the child
The author called her method “a system where a child develops independently, relying on a didactically prepared environment.” The key principle of the Montessori technique is “Help me do it myself.” It implies that the adult understands what the child is interested in, provides them with an appropriate environment for interesting activities, and teaches them to use it.
Thus, Dr. Maria Montessori saw the individuality of teaching in creating a special environment, which is a key impact she had on education. In these surroundings, didactic material is chosen by the child, not the teacher. That is quite different from a formal classroom in which kids learn set material created by professionals that have likely never met them.
Her individual teaching is based on the child’s freedom of choice of the material. It is also based on the time of their work with it and independent control over mistakes.
The child is free in a prepared environment. For the youngster, didactic materials are only the key to the world. With the help of the materials, they organize the mind, learn to be aware of still chaotic ideas. They grow into the culture, learn from their own experience to understand nature, and ways to navigate in it.
More about the method from Dr. Maria Montessori
The child is free to choose the type of activity. For a child to develop fully, it is necessary to provide them with freedom of thought, action, and feeling.
Children learn everything easily and with pleasure, without “obligation” and competition with their peers. Each child does what they like; there is no single program in the system.
Montessori is a method of early learning and development. But, the groups are still of different ages.
Older children teach younger children, acquire leadership traits, and at the same time learn to care for each other. This process helps to form mutual assistance and cooperation.
Classes happen in a specially prepared environment. The basics of Montessori pedagogy imply that the playroom divides into several zones:
- Natural science
- Practical life
The adult plays a secondary role in teaching, being not a mentor, but an assistant. The adult’s main task is to interest the child.
The teacher communicates with children to help inspire them daily but does not impose a personal opinion. The instructor does not lead the child to the desired answers to questions.
Criticism and prohibitions are inadmissible. The child has the right to make mistakes. This youth is quite capable of reaching everything independently in time.
The principles of Montessori pedagogy aim at the development of fine motor skills, senses. That is, sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch.
Dr. Maria Montessori believed that accurate actions with small objects form intelligence, develop speech, attention, and memory. Therefore, in her system, there is a lot of activity relating to stringing objects. That involves guessing them by touch and by texture, with sorting.
The method encourages independence in kids. All the manuals are on shelves so that they can pick them up and put them back in place. All books in one copy. This way, children learn to negotiate with each other.
There are certain rules that help to streamline life in a Montessori group. For example, after reading a book, the child needs to return it to the original location. In this manner, children learn to maintain order.
One of the main advantages of the Montessori methodology system is that children learn at their own pace. That is, without competition with peers, and a compulsory program.
Therefore, in the classroom, children are not bored. Instead, they are curious and proactive.
They can amuse themselves. Also, the youngsters come to understand and respect the needs of others.
Conclusions on Dr. Maria Montessori’s impact on education
Montessori’s pedagogy addresses parents, teachers, and other educators today. It leads to serious reflections on the meaning of the work of those who are in education.
Have you used the Montessori method as a parent or come into contact with it in another way? Were you familiar with Dr. Maria Montessori before reading this post?
About today’s writer
Alexis is a Sydney-based part-time writer and a full-time mom of two. Her words carry the richness and offer advice and inspiration to those who desire to improve their lives.