Updated: Mar 5
The Montessori philosophy began by the Italian scientist Maria Montessori in the early 1900's. She observed children to be like sponges, "absorbing" everything around them, and learning without even being taught. She decided to create a "prepared environment", an ideal classroom for a child to learn everything they needed in order to succeed in life. The Montessori Method is utilized worldwide in classrooms to guide children as they learn through their environment.
There are 3 main characteristics to a Montessori Environment:
1. The environment should be rich in materials, specifically designed to be age appropriate by engaging the child in concrete learning.
All the materials in the Montessori classroom are meant to be explored through the senses.
2. Children are given 2-3 hours of uninterrupted free choice of work.
Children are given freedom to choose their work by their interests, and they work independently alongside of other children. The Montessori teacher is trained to assist the child in developing self-motivation and independence. The teacher introduces new work to the child as the child demonstrates readiness, and prepares individualized plans to cater to each child, and tailored to fit their needs.
3. The Montessori classroom contains mixed ages and accommodates for children from 3-6 years of age.
Incorporating a three year age range allows for children to develop a greater range of social skills. The younger children learn from the older, and the older children gain skills in leadership, patience, and empathy. All children gain a sense of community and develop a greater desire to be selfless.