Naturally, preschool aged children resist to sit patiently at a desk all day. For this reason, the Montessori environment allows for a great deal of movement and exploration. Furthermore, because much of the work is done individually, children develop autonomy and entrepreneurship. At the same time, there are still many activities done in small groups or as a class project which fosters teamwork and builds interpersonal communication abilities.
The Montessori prepared environment respects and protects each and every child’s individual ways of learning. The classrooms are carefully created to meet children’s needs and offer more opportunities for learning. Children have the freedom to experience the power of making choices and practice self-discipline.
As soon as a child becomes part of the school community, the journey to self-confidence, independence, and competence begins. Academics are presented to our children with a clear understanding of where they are developmentally, using materials that make learning abstract concepts literally within their reach. Along the way, life lessons-respect, cooperation, appreciation of others, problem solving, responsibility, and so many others-are modeled and practiced on a daily basis. We consistently guide our children toward achieving the goals that their parents and their school have for them. By the time they graduate, they have a skill set that prepares them not only for success in elementary/middle school, but for becoming productive members of society and citizens of the world.
The teachers in our toddler, and preschool programs have specific goals for their students, and a clear image of what they want our children to “look like” when they graduate.
Mixed Age Groups
There is much controversy regarding a multi-age setting, whether it enhances or slows down learning process in children. By research and observation, Dr. Maria Montessori noticed, that children learn best from each other, when younger children get a chance to look ahead and see what is coming next by watching their older classmates work.
Older ones, on the other hand, have the opportunity to practice and reinforce their skills and knowledge simply by sharing it with their younger friends. By doing so, the opportunities for self-growth, independence and positive social development take place. The children’s constant interaction with each other teaches them how to get along and treat others with respect and courtesy regardless of age and abilities.
The relationship at home with the siblings will change significantly, parents usually notice more compassion and understanding towards the younger brother or sister.
As self-confidence develops, children are given the opportunity for even greater meaningful leadership roles and positive experiences. Development of each child is observed and encouraged by a group of well trained Teachers.
To assist a child we must provide him with an environment which will enable him to develop freely” M.Montessori
Montessori classrooms worldwide are typically beautiful and enticing and you will likely find happy children busy working with various materials. Great care and attention to detail has been taken to create an unprecedented learning environment; this will reinforce the child’s innate independence and natural urge toward self-development. The Montessori materials are beautifully handcrafted and are displayed on low, easily-accessible shelves. Each piece of material has a specific purpose and is designed to teach a certain skill.
The Montessori materials are designed to encourage the child’s logical thought and discovery. They are interesting and simple, and also serve a very specific purpose. If the child has done something incorrectly it will be evident, and he or she will be capable of correcting his or herself. The geometric shape, for example, won’t fit the hole; the water will spill on the table or the last label will not match the last picture. Being able to see his or her own mistake allows the child to be assertive and motivated.
The Montessori classroom is not merely a place for individual learning; it is also a vibrant community of children, where they learn to interact socially and work toward common goals. The three-year age range in most classrooms enables older children to teach the younger and lead by example; younger children simultaneously learn from modeling and observation. With such a variety of skill levels in the classroom, each child learns from one another, uninhibited by competition and encouraged by co-operation.