Back when Dr. Maria Montessori observed children in turn-of-the-century classrooms, the educational methods she ultimately developed upended contemporary ideas about how young students develop and learn. Her child-centered learning philosophy thus required a different sort of teacher, someone specially-trained to apply the philosophy in the classroom.
Check out these four ways the Montessori Method views the role of the adult in childhood education.
A Keen Observer
A Montessori-certified teacher is considered more of a guide than a lecturer. Her first and most important task is to observe the children in action in a safe, prepared environment. Armed with a profound knowledge of human development, a skilled Montessori teacher treats each child as an individual and watches carefully to mark developmental transitions. A great teacher knows when to remain passive to allow a child some space to work things out on their own, and when to step in to assist a child in need.
A Reliable Model
Children absorb the lessons of the world around them, including modelling the behavior of the adults within their orbit. A Montessori-trained teacher’s own behavior in the classroom is thus an ideal for the students to emulate. They model grace in movement, courtesy in speech, respect for the materials in the classroom, and respect for one another.
An Effective Communicator
A Montessori-certified teacher speaks to children in language appropriate for their age and developmental stage. They speak clearly and directly. They greet each child with warmth and attention. Conflicts are resolved without judgement and with an eye to finding solutions. They listen and respond with focus and consideration.
A Scholar Of Child Development
Not only does a Montessori-certified teacher have a strong grasp of the stages of human development, but they also know how to implement the activities and presentations of a Montessori education to encourage their students to learn and grow. Montessori schools offer a wide range of well-crafted and colorful educational materials with very specific purposes. One of a teacher’s daily tasks is to introduce the materials at the right time and present them in a way to pique a child’s interest.
The Montessori Method of education encourages self-reliance,innovation and independence. A Montessori-certified teacher knows she has reached her greatest success when, in accordance with Dr. Montessori’s own words, “the children are now working as if I did not exist.”