Benefits of a Montessori Education
So, today I thought we could explore the idea of Montessori education and why, as a teacher, I prefer it. You might be wondering if it is something that would benefit your child, and if that’s the case, I’m here to highlight a handful of the ways that Montessori education equips our kids for a bright future!
Montessori herself said in The Absorbent Mind, “If education is always to be conceived a mere transmission of knowledge, there is little to be hoped from it in the betterment of [our] future. For what is the use in the transmitting of knowledge if the individual’s total development lags behind? The child is endowed with unknown powers that can guide us to a radiant future. If what we really want is a new world, then education must take, as its aim, the development of these hidden possibilities.”
From her own words, we can reason that education was so much more than a teacher demanding rote memorization of academic knowledge. Jumping off from that idea, I outlined four key components of a Montessori classroom that I believe benefit every student in the Montessori classroom, learning styles and special considerations aside. Those four components are:
Multi-level Socialization, Freedom Within Limits, Focus on the Whole Child, and Hands On Learning.
With Multi-level Socialization, the student stays in one classroom for 3 consecutive years if they begin at the initial level (3yrs, 6yrs, 9yrs, etc). During this 3-year cycle, they bond with their classmates and learn how to solve disputes, how to help each other, how to give lessons and lead circles. It is more reflective of the workplace environment, where we deal with colleagues of differing ages, skill sets, and experience. So, it prepares students uniquely in ways that a single-age classroom cannot.
“Freedom Within Limits” is the idea that a student who has been shown how to use a material, may work with that material or any other when they choose. If they are very curious about letters and reading, they do not have to wait for a specific period or time of day. They are able to navigate their interests and work accordingly.
Focus on the Whole Child is exactly as it sounds. Because independence, responsibility, self-care and play are all important aspects of adult life, they are introduced in the Montessori classroom from the very first day! Learning how to dress and use the restroom, learning how to put materials away when finished or how to use play equipment safely are as equally important as recognizing quantities, numerals or letters.
And lastly, Hands On Learning. Montessori stressed the idea of “Follow the Child” where the adult observes the child’s interests and abilities, pairs them with developmental needs and guides the student on the material that they are ready to absorb. Using didactic, concrete objects and materials, the student is able to absorb lessons before his abstract mind has. A great example of this would be the Binomial Cube - an 8-piece, cube- shaped, 3-D puzzle that represents in a concrete, visual display the algebraic equation (a+b)３. Having materials that a student can manipulate and observe allows them to begin learning ideas long before they could otherwise be introduced and it is my final and favorite aspect of learning in a Montessori classroom.
Check it out! You might even learn things along with your student that you struggled with as a child.
And remember, “Our care of the child should be governed not by the desire to make him learn things but by the endeavor always to keep burning within him that light which is called intelligence.” -M. Montessori
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