The Montessori Method
What is Montessori
The Indirect Teaching Method
North Garland Montessori School - The Montessori Method

It is called an indirect teaching method because it neither imposes on a child nor does it abandon him in total free play, rather it provides a carefully planned and structured environment in which the child can grow and learn in a natural way with the best possible opportunities for reaching his or her maximum potential.

Furthermore, in the Montessori method, while the child is absorbing his own language he is exposed to games and activities which introduce him to the correct use of grammar and this approach helps lay sound foundations for the future.

The following overview should give you a general idea on the philosophy that we will be incorporating in your child's routine.

The Six Basic Components of this Prepared Environment

  1. Freedom The child moves freely around a Montessori classroom, talking to other children, working with any equipment he chooses, or asking the teacher to introduce new material. He is not free to disturb other children who are working , or abuse the equipment which is so important to them all.
  2. Reality And Nature The child should grow up close to nature and experience of the natural environment helps the child achieve harmony as well as contribute to the child's spiritual growth.
  3. Social Awareness Through freedom of movement and through the Montessori exercise for the care of the environment , also care of self and development of social skills the child is helped towards social awareness.
  4. Order The environment should be structured and ordered so that it is easier for the child to make sense of the external world.
  5. Beauty The environment should be aesthetically pleasing and simple.
  6. Montessori Didactic Materials These are an important element of the educational environment:
    • Sense Training develops the child's growth awareness and helps build sound concepts with appropriate language.
    • Cultural Materials help the child develop an awareness of the world in which he lives. Dr Montessori stressed the importance of including the fundamentals of nature study, geography, history, science, art and music in the curriculum. The general aim being the child's whole development.
    • Mathematical Apparatus gives the child an understanding of the basic rules. Through a sense of carefully structured didactic materials the child learns concepts through concrete activities and then he is gradually helped towards abstraction. The activities are individual as each child progresses at a different rate.
    • Language Materials help the child develop the language skills which are listening, speaking, reading and writing. First through the sandpaper letters the child learns both the sounds and shapes of the letters, then listens for the sounds in words and begins to build them using the Montessori movable alphabet.
“ Nature allows a certain time to learn each thing. Maria Montessori called these ‘sensitive periods’. If this time is not used, it is lost. It does not come again. If the sensitive periods are wasted, the foundation is not there; it is more difficult for the child and those who teach the child.

The Montessori System and Rich Environment

The Montessori system of education provides an environment rich in activities for every area of learning. Montessori called her schools "casa dei bambini" or "the children's home". In their home away from home our children find rooms full of mystery, challenge and discovery.

In the Practical Life shelves: children find washing, polishing, pouring, brushing, folding and sewing;
In the Sensorial shelves: texture, color, sound, taste and smell;
In the Numbers shelves: quantity and mathematical ideas;
In the Language shelves: vocabulary, expression, writing and reading.

At the same time, they are encouraged to look outside; to be aware of countries, continents and beyond; and doing the prehistoric time line helps them to understand the concept of time - from the ancient to the present.

The children retain their freedom. They choose their own work and may repeat an activity as often as they wish. This freedom contributes to their self-confidence and independence. The teacher will guide and introduce them to new activities and ideas but will not coerce them into areas for which they may not yet be ready. To do so is to risk halting their progress. No matter which shelf the children enter they will find equipment that works on more than one level.

In the Numbers shelves: the Golden Beads teach simple numeric; but the Cube of 1000 is made up of 1000 Golden Beads and is therefore exactly 1000 times as big as one bead. This allows mathematical ideas to form. Children are not made to understand the formula. But in using the cube in a mathematical way, they build up a predisposition to enjoy and understand mathematics later. In the same way the Cylinders show that whether shallow and wide or narrow and deep they each displace the same volume; but simply playing with them prepares and strengthens the children's fingers for holding a pencil later on.

In the Language shelves: the children's first introduction to the alphabet is via sandpaper letters. Feeling the roughness of the letter and the smoothness of the background card is something children enjoy; but in this activity is being created the knowledge of the shape of the letter and its sound, and of simple words - all leading to reading and writing.

In the Biology shelves: matching the pictures to the story of, say, the Conch or the snail teaches the children how to observe; but the story itself teaches them the fundamentals of the life cycle.

“ The director prepares the environment and is trained to know when to intervene in the child's self-learning. This knowledge comes through her practice of the art of observation. The child is given what is termed as liberty within limits.

We Have Spoken of the Freedoms, Now What are the Limits?

  1. He may freely choose to work with anything he has been shown how to use.
  2. He must use the materials properly and return them properly.
  3. He may not infringe upon the right of others.

Within this framework the child develops freely in individuality and self - confidence. The child is given the opportunity to become independent and care for himself in a responsible way. He flowers and becomes an inner - directed member of his school and family.

All of this will happen to the extent that the child is exposed to these ideas. The more cooperation between the family and directors, the more benefit the child will receive from his Montessori experience.

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