What is Montessori Education?
Montessori education is a scientific method of teaching, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in 1907, to educate children through direct control of their environment. It uses materials to stimulate a child's senses, which makes the learning experience more memorable. The Montessori education method is a progression of learning beginning with activities in practical life and the sensorial, activities that internalize independence, coordination, concentration and order (ICCO), which in turn help a child to transition to more abstract learning in Culture, Math and Language.
The Montessori curriculum includes materials in Practical Life to enhance motor skills through daily functions; Sensorial to allow a child to explore his senses, and gain pre-math skills; Cultural, which includes learning about plants, animals, human anatomy, the Earth, outer space, and other cultures; Math, which helps a child understand mathematical functions in concrete form; and Language which teaches vocabulary, writing, and reading.
The Montessori education method supports and encourages multi-age grouping. Older children work with younger children; giving the older children leadership skills, and encouraging the younger children to accomplish more challenging activities. Multi-age grouping also promotes respect between older children and younger children, and reinforces knowledge of the Montessori materials.
This philosophy can be applied to the home environment, as well. Preparing the home in a way that facilitates the child’s independence is both empowering and educational. This would include things such as the sink area having a stool, a towel hung on a hook at the child’s level, a cup and small water pitcher available for easy independent access, etc. Other wonderful materials are available for purchase and are appropriate for home use at several online resources. (see below)