The Montessori Way
Dra. Maria Montessori made a lifelong study of children from all racial, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. As both a physician and anthropologist, as well as an educator, her scientific observation of the human being from birth to maturity enabled her to bring together a number of philosophical, psychological and pedagogical principles.
The curriculum encourages the development of a holistic way of thinking through which children see and make connections between disciplines rather than seeing them as isolated subjects. Effective learning experiences are relevant, rigorous and consistent. The International Montessori School programme transforms learning by supporting and encouraging self-directed reflection, research and self-evaluation.
Maria Montessori said that education should not be limited to seeking new methods merely for the transmission of knowledge, but to aid human development. We have found the answer to helping our students on their educational and personal development path in the Montessori pedagogy. The environment, the concept of freedom and autonomy in the Montessori classrooms, the different materials, the respect for the child’s needs, the role of the adult as a guide to learning; all of this allows the student’s competencies to flourish; the ability to think for themselves, to become problem-solvers, to have the cognitive flexibility to adapt to change, and to have the empathy needed for collaboration and teamwork.
Here are some of the main differences between Montessori and Traditional education:
- Child-centred: as children all develop at different rates, the classroom is prepared for the child and the teacher helps each child follow their own unique interests and strengths.
- Flexible Curriculum: in each 3 year programme, there is a distinct learning objective which each child is guided towards. Teachers observe and gauge individual progress over time.
- Encourages a love of learning: we foster a lifelong love of learning in children so that they enjoy and value their education, especially later in life. Students are free to approach different topics they most want to learn. Teachers give students choices, so that while they are directed, they have personal autonomy.
- Calm and organised classrooms: the room is divided into five subject areas: Practical Life, Language, Mathematics, Sensorial Development, and Culture & Sciences. The classroom is organised and uncluttered to avoid distraction and emphasize that this is a learning space.
- Outdoor time: when children are outside this is seen as an extension of their learning, not an escape from it. Gardening, outdoor reading areas, and sensory math materials are just a few of the enriching and educational activities children can enjoy outdoors.
- Respect & Mindfulness: Montessori teachers model good behaviour so that children learn by observing, and there is much discussion about feelings and learning empathy through emotional intelligence.
- Few interruptions: the teacher respects the child’s concentration and workflow: if a child is deeply engaged in what they are doing, they are allowed to finish what they are working on.
- All children must follow the same path as set out by the teacher. The expectation is that each child will arrive at the same level of knowledge and competence at the same time.
- A singular pathway is set and all children must follow this with everyone else in the class.
- Children learn to pass tests, and are frequently held back if they do not achieve the desired level at the end of the year.
- Traditional classrooms use bright colours, posters, and decorations to try and excite children. These can often be a distraction.
- Play time is seen as a welcome break from the classroom and “work” and children behave in a completely different way.
- Traditional schools often have a set of rules which children must obey: the reasons for these rules are often not explained and children are punished for not following them
- In the traditional classroom, children are constantly moved on to the next stage, whether or not they are ready or interested.