Consider the Montessori Method of childhood education: Though the philosophy is a hundred years old, well-tested and established, it still has the feel of something delightfully revolutionary. Perhaps that’s why so many Silicon Valley moguls send their children to Montessori schools…or perhaps it’s simply because there are so many profound advantages of a Montessori education.
Check out these five:
A Focus On Child-Centered Learning
Traditional classrooms place the teacher in front of a chalkboard to lecture, but a Montessori classroom is something entirely different. Learning doesn’t descend from authority, but rather emerges from the child itself. Teachers are guides who encourage children to indulge their own curiosity within a prepared environment full of light, space, and attractive, well-crafted education materials. The teachers are keen observers, watching for developmental strides and transitions, encouraging further learning.
Individualized Learning Plans
Dr. Maria Montessori understood that each child passes through developmental milestones at his or her own pace. That’s one reason why a Montessori classroom consists of age groupings of approximately three years. This allows children to advance in learning without the stigma of “falling behind.” To accommodate the unique learning styles of each child, teachers write up individual education plans and keep an eye on when a student is ready to transition to the next grouping.
Developing The Social Child
In the younger years especially, a child’s social development is as important as their educational advancement. Age-grouped classrooms promote a sense of family. The older children mentor the younger ones, and over the years the younger ones grow into that solemn responsibility. Practical activities encourage a sense of community and self-worth. Children learn the value of social graces, of accommodation to the needs of their fellow students, and the importance of communication in resolving conflicts.
Encouraging Independence And Creativity
There’s no drilling of times tables in a Montessori classroom, nor are there seats-lined-up-in-a-row. What exists is a tremendous about of independence for each child to explore to his or her heart’s content. By indulging a child’s own boundless curiosity, the Montessori Method encourages the skill of deep concentration. By offering toys that encourage self-correction, children make mistakes and learn from them toward perfecting their skills. Because they’re not pushed toward a result, children learn to value the process. Because they’re encouraged to experiment, they grow in creativity.
Instilling A Love Of Learning
When learning becomes a natural side-effect of play and enjoyment, it becomes a joy. When gaining a new skill isn’t a stress-filled burden, then education is welcomed and pursued. When a child loves to learn, so will the adult. That’s a Montessori advantage that will last a lifetime.