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Why Montessori - Montessori in India

Where did Montessori come from?

Montessori education was founded in 1907 by Dr.Maria Montessori, the first woman in Italy to become a physician. She based her educational methods on scientific observation of children's learning processes. Guided by her discovery that children teach themselves, Dr.Montessori designed a "prepared environment" in which children could freely choose from a number of developmentally appropriate activities. Now, nearly a century after Maria Montessori's first ("children's house") in Rome, Montessori education is found all over the world, spanning ages from birth to adolescence.

What is Montessori Method?

The Montessori method is based on a sensible balance between freedom and structure specifically designed for the young child.

This method provides a pleasant environment with carefully designed materials that meet the child’s natural needs and nurtures his absorbent mind. Dr.Montessori felt that in the first six years of a child’s life he goes through ‘sensitive periods’ during which time the child is particularly receptive to certain stimuli. With this in mind she created specially designed sensorial apparatus to help develop and refine the child’s sensory awareness.

These apparatus also allow the child to correct his own mistakes and thus help him to achieve confidence and independence. This method is unique which enables the child to develop self-confidence, security, a sense of order and social relationships, creative intelligence and imagination. It also sharpens his ability to discriminate and make judgements.

If you’re considering Montessori for your child, read on to discover 10 benefits of their educational philosophy.

1. Focuses on Key Developmental Stages

A Montessori curriculum focuses on key developmental milestones in children between the ages of two to three and five-years-old. Younger children focus on honing large muscle and language skills. Four-year-olds work on fine motor skills and completing everyday activities, such as cooking and arts and crafts. Older preschoolers broaden their learning experience to their communities, through trips and special events.

2. Encourages Cooperative Play

Because the teacher does not “run” the classroom, students guide the activities they do throughout the day. This encourages children to share and work cooperatively to explore the various stations in the Montessori classroom. Children in Montessori classrooms, by the very nature of the environment, learn to respect one another and build a sense of community.

3. Learning Is Child-Centered

Montessori preschool students enjoy a classroom and curriculum designed around their specific needs and abilities that allows them to explore and learn at their own pace and on their own terms. Everything in the classroom is within reach of the child, and furniture is sized for children to sit comfortably. In addition, older children in the class work with the younger ones, so mentoring comes as much from peers as it does from the adult teachers in the classroom.

4. Children Naturally Learn Self-Discipline

While the Montessori Method allows children to choose the activities they want to work on each day, and how long they will work at a specific task, there are specific “ground rules” for the class that are consistently enforced by the teacher and other students. This environment naturally teaches children self-discipline, and it refines important skills like concentration, self-control and motivation

5. Classroom Environment Teaches Order

All objects and activities have precise locations on the shelves of a Montessori classroom. When children are finished with an activity, they place items back into their appropriate places. This sense of order helps facilitate the learning process, teaches self-discipline, and caters to a young child’s innate need for an orderly environment. When children work and play in an area that is neat and predictable, they can unleash their creativity and focus fully on the learning process.

6. Teachers Facilitate the Learning Experience

Teachers in the Montessori classroom are “guides” that are there to facilitate the learning experience, rather than determine what it will look like. Teachers take the lead from the children in the classroom, ensure the ground rules are followed, and encourage students to perform tasks at their own pace. However, teachers do not determine the pace of the classroom – that is strictly up to individual students, as teachers strive to remain as unobtrusive as possible.

7. Learning Method Inspires Creativity

Since children are allowed to choose their activities and work at them on their own terms, creativity in the classroom is encouraged. Children work at tasks for the joy of the work, rather than the end result, which allows them to focus more on process than result – a natural path to creativity. Exposure to a wide variety of cultures also encourages children to broaden their thinking about the world and address those concepts in a variety of ways.

8. May be More Effective in Developing Certain Skills

Research conducted by Dr. Angeline Lillard, a professor of psychology from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, examined the abilities of children who have been taught in a Montessori school. Published in 2006 in the journal Science, the research studied Montessori students in Wisconsin and found that five-year-olds in Montessori classrooms had higher math and reading skills than their counterparts in public schools. In addition, the study compared 12-year-old Montessori and non-Montessori students. While math and reading skills appeared to be more on par with this age group, social development appeared to be higher in Montessori students by this age.

9. System is Highly Individualized to Each Student

Students in the Montessori program are allowed to explore activities and concepts at their own pace. This naturally encourages children to try more challenging areas, which accelerates their learning experience. Learning occurs at a comfortable pace for each student, rather than inflicting the same rate on every student in a classroom.

10. Curriculum Focused on Hands-On Learning

One of the greatest benefits of the Montessori Method, particularly during the early learning experience, is the focus on hands-on learning. The emphasis is on concrete, rather than abstract learning, as students work on activities that teach language, math, culture and practical life lessons. Teachers encourage students to concentrate on tasks, and they discourage students from interrupting one another, allowing students to focus on activities until they are properly mastered.

There are many potential benefits of a Montessori preschool for children just starting out in the education process. These important early years prepare a student for the learning experience that is to come, whether they continue with the Montessori Method or move to a public classroom environment in the future.

Mathematics in Montessori environment

When we think about Montessori's mathematics, we cannot just consider math materials only because sensorial training is of great importance in Teaming the basics of mathematics. Those training allow children to become familiar with numbers at early age

"Concentration , "Coordination" and "Independence" are important for mathematics mind. Order is the basic foundation of Math because we can't do any Math without sequence. Concentration on the task is so important on Math to develop logic thinking and problem solving skill. Children need to have eye- hand coordination to do the math works too. To develop independent thinking and problem solving skill is one of our educational goal to students.

Why so many children feel uncomfortable about mathematics because they seem mathematics like a cold and bored things with its abstract symbols. In traditional instruction, children are assumed to learn by internalizing knowledge; teachers simply correct the errors and present the right answer. Many teachers know that this is not what happens, but they go on correcting the same error day after day. It is true that it can't be done. Children need to see, without hurry or pressure, how numbers change and grow and relate to each other. They need to build up a mental model of the territory before they start next step.

Like Piaget said "Knowledge is not a copy of reality. To know an object, to know an event, is not simply to look at it and make a mental copy, or image of it. To know an object is to act on it. To know is to modify, to transform the object, and to understand the process of this transformation, and as a consequence to understand the way the object is constructed.

Dr. Montessori wrote that " Children at early age are urged by the laws of their nature to find active experiences in the world about them. For this they use their hands, and not only for practical purposes, but also for acquitting knowledge. Based on this idea, at Montessori classroom, math is presented in a fun and interesting way by using concrete materials which help children develop from concrete to abstract concept.

What is the difference between Montessori and traditional education?

Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning. Montessori classes place children in mixed age groups (2-6, 6-9, 9-12, and so on), forming communities in which the older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger ones. Montessori represents an entirely different approach to education.

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