Montessori Education is a worldwide recognised pedagogical approach developed by Dr Maria Montessori during the first half of the 20th century. Her educational method is based on the scientific observation of the child: his various stages of development throughout life, his potentialities, his interests and his capabilities.
The main characteristics of the Montessori Method are:
The Montessori Method can be implemented as a whole or gradually introduced into traditional education environments, thus enriching daily educational practice.
Any environment involving children is likely to be improved with this vision and practice of education.
Maria Montessori stated that every educator must “follow the child”, recognizing the characteristics of each age stage as well as their specific educational needs.
Children need to adapt to their environment, so Dr. Montessori perceived it as fundamental to build a favorable environment, both physically and spiritually. So that children are able to make sense of the world around them.
Although the Montessori method was developed at the beginning of the 20th century, it is a pedagogy with wide international recognition even 100 years later.
Current scientific research continues validating this educational method everyday as a set of elements that help children in their holistic development of mind, body and emotions.
1. The absorbent mind: Children have the innate capacity to receive, process and store effortlessly in their brain cells everything surrounding them in the environment.
2. Learning area: in a Montessori classroom the spaces are divided into different areas, the five key areas of learning:
3. Sensitive periods: those periods in which the child shows a special interest or is enthusiastic about learning a certain area. These sensitive periods are also called “learning windows”.
4. Normalization: this is the process in which the child gradually achieves order, self-discipline and socialization, i.e. the ability to appreciate, respect and cooperate with others.
5. Prepared environment: this is the environment in which the child develops, both the physical space and the people with whom the child interacts, the activities and guideline within that space.
6. Respect for the child’s learning pace: each child has a different pace and the adult must respect it, avoiding intervening and doing things in the child’s place, as this hinders learning and causes a feeling of inferiority and frustration in the child.
7. The role of the adult: his function is to guide the child, letting him set the pace guided by his own interests and thus helping both the child’s physical and thinking autonomy.
8. Montessori materials: they are tools made for the manipulation and sensory experimentation by the child, in order to develop knowledge and abstract thinking.
From our training centre, we offer all the tools so that teachers and families can successfully implement Montessori Education in the classroom, at home or in any other educational environments:
1. The impact of the movement on learning: The significant movement is a learning aid and improves the ability to retain concepts. The use of the hands is a magnificent channel of information input to the brain.
2. Choice and perceived control: Any learning is deeper and easier when people choose what we want to learn and can monitor that learning.
3. Rewards and extrinsic motivation interfere with learning: It is the intrinsic motivation of the person that is positive and we must encourage.
4. Learning from other children facilitates understanding: Peer dialogue is a very powerful key for both parties, both for the learner and for the teacher.
5. Meaningful learning contexts: Any academic subject is likely to be treated in a meaningful way and this improves the intensity of what has been learned.
6. Education should above all encourage the development of our executive functions: Plan, decide, imagine, self-correct, have self-awareness or choose strategies among others. This is only possible with the actual practise of these skills.
7. The order in the environment (physical, temporary, etc …) helps to build an orderly brain.
Many other elements that make up Montessori education, such as the importance of the physical order to build a mental order, or the importance of eliminating stress, among others, have been validated as essential for a healthy and balanced development.
International Montessori Institute (IMI) teaches the principles and pedagogical practice of Montessori education and current scientific evidence, to contribute with a concrete approach for professional training to improve the quality of education in schools.