The Montessori Method
The Montessori method of education is a unique, but certainly not new, approach to learning. By and large, the Montessori method focuses on giving the child the respect and agency to self-direct their learning, recognizing children not as an empty vessel to be filled with knowledge, but as a natural learner to be guided along their educational journey. With an age-appropriate, meticulously prepared environment, a child is able to explore and make new discoveries for themselves instead of being told. Thus, the child is allowed to work at their own pace and dive into topics more intimately with their naturally occurring curiosity.
Dr. Maria Montessori was one of the first female physicians in Italy. She had a keen interest in human development and spent a great deal of time observing children and connecting universal needs at each stage of development together, which has come to be regarded as the Montessori Method. She noticed, for example, that children had a period of rapid development at ages 0-6 and a sensitivity to the acquisition of language. This is called a ‘Sensitive Period’- a time when specific, new information is more readily and easily absorbed.
Dr. Montessori noticed there were a series of these sensitive periods throughout the development of human beings, and thus it was important to allow the child to pursue and master these natural curiosities. This is reflected in the “Planes of Development”, which you will find briefly outlined on each of our program pages.
Every material in a Montessori classroom is carefully prepared to allow a child the joys of hands-on exploration and the opportunity to self-correct. The environment is prepared with relaxing tones of color and distinct uncluttered spaces, appealing to the sense of order children have. A Montessori guide sees the child as incredibly capable, far beyond what even today’s society often sees, and thus prepares the environment in a way that maximizes independence. The child is free to move about the classroom with freedom (within limits) so long as they do not disturb others. This may seem far-fetched, but we see year after year how children truly respect each other’s right to work and concentrate!
“When a child is given a little leeway, he will at once shout, ’I want to do it!’ But in our schools, which have an environment adapted to children’s needs, they say, ‘Help me to do it alone.’”
Children are given blocks of uninterrupted time in which to work. This allows them to really dig into a topic, make unique connections, and form new interests to be further studied. There is really no better scientist than a child! This develops the child’s self-confidence, propelling the love of learning rather than robbing the child of it in the name of testing and artificial ‘productivity’.
Montessori also focuses on multi-age classrooms, or the three-year cycle, in order to optimize learning at each age. Younger children look up to the older children with reverence and thus naturally want to emulate them, while the older children benefit from aiding younger children, much like in a family setting (where children are most comfortable learning!) This setting allows children to nurture, grow their empathy, and thrive as leaders in a way that traditional schooling cannot.
Our hope is that through the Montessori Method, children will gain independence, confidence, and protect their love of learning for their entire life. This is education that prepares a child to be able to think for themselves, not just to be a part of the world, but to change it for the better.