There are over 700 Montessori schools in the UK. These are schools that follow the philosophy laid down by Maria Montessori, an influential thinker about childhood education. Maria Montessori was born in Ancona, Italy in 1870. She observed that given the right environment, children could develop beyond conventional expectations.
In a Montessori classroom children are encouraged to choose the activity they wish to partake in and complete it in their own time. Once they are used to making their own choices, they are naturally attracted to what will best serve their educational needs
Teachers should get to know the children they are teaching, understand what they need and so create an environment in which they learn about those things for themselves. In a Montessori classroom there are many strands to the thought process behind the child learning.
Starting to learn...........
Dressing skills are practised on specially made frames which allow them to try zips, buttons, bows and buckles.
Sensorial approach to learning
|The ability to match, to sort, to grade and to enjoy sharing with each other. Some materials, like the cylinders of the geometric insets which are held by their little knobs between finger and thumb, prepare the muscles of the hand for writing.
On the Sensorial shelves there will be specially designed materials to encourage development of the senses, such as a tower of pink blocks; sets of cylinders graduated in size; cylinders with knobs which have to be fitted into the right holes in a block; rough and smooth tablets in boxes; smelling bottles; fabrics to sort by touch; puzzle blocks called the binomial and trinomial cubes which are interesting in themselves but later turn out to be a physical illustration of mathematical formulae.
|Each of these is used to stimulate and refine one of the ten sensory areas and each will be presented to the child to be used in an exact way to aid his development. The sensorial materials also prepare the child for reading and writing.
Many schools have cultural boxes, one for each country, filled with all the exotica teachers can find to bring new places alive. On festival days schools may celebrate with tastes of exotic foods, learn songs from other countries or invite a guest or parent to show and tell about special costumes and celebrations.
|Why choose Montessori
..."Tell me I hear, show me I know, involve me I understand."
This quote is often used to describe a Montessori type education. It is one of the main advantages of a Montessori type education. Children feel totally involved and hence there concentration should improve. There may be less structure than in some nurseries/childcare organisations but this may be good while the children are so young.
Montessori principles in teaching are excellent and give most children a firm foundation for later schooling. Again it may not suit all children, or all parents but the choice is there for the parents to decide.
In my experience I have found that the Montessori principles and disciplines are excellent. In a normal household and as children will play with all other children they quickly learn to adapt and to be aware of each other and their needs. Most Montessori schools will realise that children may have to attend Primary schools later in life and prepare them for a more structured and larger environment.
As a parent my children enjoyed a Montessori nursery and they had no trouble adapting to an Infant school. At home I was probably more structured and they were used to both environments. I can only say that my children look back on their Nursery days with many happy memories.
It is important to look at the broader picture when choosing a nursery and to have some idea what you want for the future for your children. In this way you can prepare both yourself and your child to the various routines and ways of life.
Remember it may take any child some time to adapt and be happy. This is usually due to personality, age, home circumstances and experiences that they have had in their short life. As a parent you need to be positive, supportive of your choice of school and aware that perhaps other children may not be as lucky as your children.
|Maria Montessori had very positive ideas and was thinking of the whole child’s well being. In today’s world this philosophy must be a good one.