When Dr. Maria Montessori introduced a new method of education to nurture young children. She made the observation that children are unique individuals, each with their own unique capabilities and preferred style of learning. Children, by their very nature, are open to exploring new things and mastering new skills. According to her, this individuality must be respected and children should be provided with developmentally appropriate materials, the freedom to select, and the time to complete their activities on their own initiative.
To satisfy this need, children must be provided with a specially prepared environment, within which they will find carefully designed activities, sequenced in proper order. Thus, the child, while being active, also masters the skills and concepts necessary to build independence. Permitting the child freedom to choose his activity from concrete materials builds a sensorial foundation for his intellectual development, while allowing him to use all his senses and all the modalities of learning – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic – to master information and fix it in memory.
When the individuality of each child is respected and they are allowed to proceed at their own pace, deriving full satisfaction from the project at hand, children learn with great joy and are motivated to seek ever greater challenges, moving from one success to another.
Researches all across the globe have found that children develop their attitude toward learning and important life skills during the first six years of their lives. During this period, children learn easily and efficiently. Montessori understood that knowledge is absorbed naturally through experience. Hence, we provide opportunities for learning by isolating stimuli, and presenting them to the child individually. When he is familiar with a concept, we give him the correct language to describe it, thereby empowering him to master the concept completely.
In an Authentic Montessori environment, social development is fostered naturally and spontaneously. The children develop excellent communication skills through cooperative activities, the exchange of ideas, and discussions within their group. They learn to question, yet respect the viewpoint of others, and become skilled at articulating their opinions.
An Authentic Montessori program is self-directed and non-competitive; it is guided carefully by a well prepared teacher who understands the principles of the Montessori Method, and how to prepare and maintain the proper environment. Who knows how and when to present a new activity to a child, understands child psychology, and is sensitive to the developmental level the child is going through. Who understands the principle of freedom and establishes the structure necessary to give freedom to the child. One who is a personal role model of the highest moral standards, which are built into the program, so that the children imbibe the values of truth, right-action, love, non-violence, and peace into their lives, by living them every day.- Ann Balasuriya
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Important points for Parents who are searching for an Authentic Montessori Program for their child
- A Credentialed Montessori Teacher assisted by a trained teacher’s aide.
- Mixed age grouping 2½ through 6 years.
- A complete set of Montessori Materials.
- 2½ to 3 hours of uninterrupted work time.
- A substantial class size, in California this is generally 24 children.