Montessori Education

   Montessori Education

 

 

History:

 

  • Dates back to 1907, when Maria Montessori the Children’s House (or Casa dei Bambini) in a low-income area in Rome.
  • Dr. Montessori first described her approach in Il Metodo della Pedagogia Scientifica applicato all’educazione infantile nelle Case dei Bambini, published in 1909; or the English version—The Montessori Method, was very successful on both sides of the Atlantic. 
  • In the following decades, Montessori methodology was utilized in schools throughout every continent with the exception of Antarctica.
  • In 1929, Dr. Montessori created and established the Association Montessori International (or AMI) to support the growing Montessori environment worldwide.
  • In the United States—Montessori curriculum caught on quickly through advocates and overwhelming propaganda, but died out until 40 years later when it made its return through the work of Nancy McCormick Rambusch.
  • In 1960, Nancy was the leader of the Montessori revival in America.
    •  Nancy was vibrant and persistent on her ideas about the need of change for education. She created the American Montessori Society, which is still today’s largest, modern-era organization in support of the Montessori curriculum in America.
  • More on the history of Montessori schools: http://amshq.org/Montessori-Education/History-of-Montessori-Education

Dr. Maria Montessori:  

“The child who has felt a strong love for his surroundings and for all living creatures, who has discovered joy and enthusiasm in work, gives us reason to hope that humanity can develop in a new direction.”  — Maria Montessori

  • Maria Montessori was an Italian physician, innovator, and educator, but is known for her ‘Montessori’ educational method that builds on the way children naturally learn. 
  • Dr. Montessori's history:
    • She was born on August 31st, 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy, however, she grew up in Rome. 
    • She was well educated, and was an avid reader in her day; she quickly immersed herself in a variety of studies before developing the Montessori method. 
    • At the age of 13, Maria, not limited by the inequalities of females during the time, enrolled in an all male technical institute in preparation to become an engineer. However, in the process of her education, had a change of heart, and decided to study medicine instead. 
    • Through her dedication and intelligence, was eventually admitted into medical school—changing the role of women at the time.
    • Being one of the first female physicians, she graduated medical school in 1896.
    • She began to have a focus in psychiatry, and then took in an interest in education and its practices; she began to take courses and further her knowledge in the educational field.
    • Throughout her studies, she came to question the methodology of the educational practices of children with intellectual and developmental practices specifically at the time.
    • In 1900, she was appointed the co-director of a new training institute for educators for children with disabilities; this is when she was able to start making a difference. She took on the role extremely scientifically with an emphasis on research and observation. Through her work, the program was deemed successful.
    • In 1907, Maria Montessori was given the opportunity to open a school in a poor district of Rome. This was the first childcare center that utilized the Montessori method. 
    • Here, the children took a great interest in: puzzles, meal preparation, and manipulated the materials guided toward mathematical skill sets that were provided in their surroundings; she noted their interest in these materials, and how the students began to teach themselves essentially.
    • Dr. Montessori took specific notes of these children’s success and began developing certain learning methods and materials that would further the children’s learning.
    • News of her successful education method spread throughout Italy rapidly, and Montessori schools started to become worldwide by 1910. 
    • Once the success spread throughout the globe, Dr. Montessori made it her mission to advance children’s education through writing articles and books, public speaking, and fully developing the Montessori Method, of a program to prepare educators in her way of teaching.
    • She campaigned not only for this method of education, but also for women’s rights holistically. Due to her life being in a time of war and unruly politics, Dr. Montessori also included a peaceful approach in the Montessori Method.
    • She was forced to live in exile in India when war and hostility became apparent in Italy and Great Britain in the 1940s. Until she traveled to Amsterdam at the end of the war, where she died on May 6th, 1952.

Montessori’s Mission, Theory, and Values:

What is Montessori Education? 

“Never let a child risk failure until he has a reasonable chance of success.” –Maria Montessori 

  • What is Montessori: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nb7QLOCW8hs
  • Value sets consist of:
    • Respect
    • Integrity
    • Diversity
    • Inclusiveness
    • Responsibility
    • Enthusiasm
  • At the American Montessori Society: their “mission and vision are the diving forces behind all our work and strategic goals. Our values guide how we articulate and accomplish our work. We provide the leadership and resources to make Montessori a significant and enduring voice in education. We serve our members, advocate for quality Montessori education, and champion Montessori principles.” http://www.montessorischool.net/school-history/
  • “The basic tenet of Montessori education is that a child learns best in an enriched, supportive environment through exploration, discovery and creativity with the guidance and encouragement of a trained and caring staff… children are encouraged to pursue their interests, make responsible choices for themselves and direct themselves to constructive activities (msmresources.org).”
  • The goals of a Montessori education are to:
    • Cultivate each child’s natural desire to learn
    • Have children acquire and master different skill sets
    • Learn responsibility and problem solving
    • Develop cooperation among peers
    • Develop and foster positive, healthy feelings about oneself as well as their peers
  • “The method addresses the total child developing social skills, emotional growth, physical coordination, and cognitive preparation, within a thoughtfully designed environment (msmresources.org).”
  • Introduction to Montessori Education: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oAzH79niws
  • Learning Principles of the Montessori Curriculum:
    • Independence:
      • “The greatest sign of success for a teacher…is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’”– Maria Montessori
    • Freedom with Responsibility:
      • “Only through freedom and environmental experience is it practically possible for human development to occur.” – Maria Montessori
    • Self-Motivation:
      • “Our aim is not merely to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core.” – Maria Montessori
    • Grace and Courtesy
      • “What is social life if not the solving of social problems, behaving properly and pursuing aims acceptable to all?” –Maria Montessori

The Montessori Classroom:

  • Every classroom in a Montessori Method-based school is:
    • Prepared with a plentiful variety of materials that can be utilized on one’s learning
    • The materials are carefully selected and designed to meet the needs of every individual that is enrolled
    • There is a range of materials for the different ages and intellectual levels of the students
    • There are typical ‘areas’ of the Montessori classroom like:
      • Everyday Living
      • Mathematics
      • Language
      • Art
      • Sensorial
      • Music
      • Geography
      • Science
      • Movement
      • Nature Study
      • Animal Care
      • Biology, Botany, Zoology, Physical Sciences, History, and Foreign Language are also found in the elementary levels
  • Mixed Age Groupings, or family groupings
    • These are classes with a 3-year age range of the students (for example: 3-6, 6-9, or 9-12).
    • This assists with peer teaching, more advanced and broader social interactions and skills, intellectual and individual differences in learning styles and techniques, and also harbors the family-style of the Montessori curriculum.
  • Individualized Instruction
    • The Montessori Method specializing in using materials to ensure the pace for each individual is at their own learning style. “The integrated curriculum is introduced sequentially and at the developmental level of each individual child, allowing every child, allowing every child to work to capacity and at their level (msmresources.org).”
  • Child Directed Programing
    • “Within the structure of the classroom and curriculum, children are encouraged to pursue their interests, make responsible choices for themselves and direct themselves to constructive activities. Since children's interests vary, this opportunity results in an independent, self-motivated learner (msmresources.org).”
  • Specialized Designed Environment/Materials
    • The Montessori environment must include and utilized specialize materials like multi-sensory, sequential, and self-correcting tools.
  • Specialized Staff
    • Teachers must go through a specific training program on the Montessori Method in addition to their background and experience in early childhood education. The course includes:
      • Educational philosophy
      • Academic training in the specific curriculum
      • Early childhood development and classroom management
      • The use of materials for individual lessons
    • Teaching the Montessori Method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GTaUuvL1Bc
    • Teaching Principles of the Montessori Method:
      • Prepared Environments
        • “To assist a child we must provide him with an environment which will enable him to develop freely.” – Maria Montessori
      • Didactic Materials
        • “The Human hand allows the mind to reveal itself.” – Maria Montessori
      • Multi-age Classrooms
        • “There is a great sense of community within the Montessori classroom, where children of differing ages work together in an atmosphere of cooperation rather than competitiveness.” –Maria Montessori
      • Individualized Pacing
        • “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.” –Maria Montessori
      • Observation
        • “The teacher must…possess scientific curiosity and absolute respect for the phenomenon which she wishes to observe.” –Maria Montessori
  • Hands-on Learning Approach—this can be found throughout the use of materials provided in the environment
    • This is based on the belief that children learn through action and doing; all subject areas include material utilization in the Montessori Method.
  • Integrated Curriculum
    • This is utilized especially at the elementary level within Montessori schools due to this integration of multiple subject areas at hand.
  • Whole Language Approach to Reading
    • Due to the notion that reading and writing are heavily emphasized throughout the country, activities and lesson planning within a Montessori curriculum activate the students’ abilities and learning styles; while the literature program in general meets every students’ individual learning styles and needs.
  • Montessori Education versus Conventional Education: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NGRpzQ9vCE

 

By: Maggie Graney through Dr. Brooks' 2016 Senior Capstone course. 

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