The Montessori Advantage

Montessori is Child-Centered

A student explores the flags of the world while a friend observes.
A student explores the flags of the world while a friend observes.

Montessori is Individualized

The primary method of learning in the Montessori classroom is through independent play and one-on-one lessons with the teacher. Group learning is usually limited to “circle” or “group” time. Our classroom sizes are no more than twenty students, which allows a teacher, along with an assistant, to meet the needs of her students. We all know firsthand that when learning experiences are tailored to our interests, they are more “engaging and meaningful”. (HeadStart ECLKC) In addition, children vary in their developmental timeline, and it’s essential that we do not pressure a child to meet certain milestones when they are not yet capable of doing so. Montessori respects that each child is an individual, on their own unique journey of development.

Montessori Tailors the Environment to the Child

When selling a home, realtors advise clients to style their homes for the buyer, keeping personal preferences inside, decluttering and minimizing, sticking to neutrals and maximizing natural light. When it comes to the classroom environment, it’s also important to “style” it for the student rather than for the teacher or the parents. What does the child need in order to learn? When parents walk into a colorful, loud classroom with walls filled with the children’s artwork, it may feel vibrant, energetic and fun. LED lights, top of the line technology and activities may give a “wow” factor. But we need to pause and ask, is this an environment where my child will feel comfortable and capable, one which is designed to foster their ability to learn? Or will it overstimulate, distract and inhibit my child’s learning?

Montessori classrooms are known for their use of natural and organic materials, minimal décor, natural lighting, child-sized furnishings and materials and clutter-free. Low shelves are filled with coordinated activities from mathematics to language materials, to sensorial to practical life activities and cultural activities.

The Montessori classroom environment is prepared for the child’s success.
The Montessori classroom environment is prepared for the child’s success.

Montessori Fosters Independence

A Children’s House student prepares orange juice for their snack.
A Children’s House student prepares orange juice for their snack.

“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.” Montessori is about respecting the child’s ability. The child can choose their own learning activities, working with a material for a short time or lengthier time, based on their interest. The materials are self-correcting, enabling the child to independently spot their own errors. Everything the child needs to care for themselves or their classroom environment is at their reach and complete: from a spray bottle of soapy water and rags for cleaning up spills, to all the utensils needed to prepare themselves a snack or get a glass of water, the child is able to help themselves. 

The ability to care for themselves, care for their classroom and contribute to their community builds a sense of confidence, personal responsibility, and a life-long habit of self-directed learning that will give them the skill they need to succeed in their future education and career goals.

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