What is Montessori Education?
The Montessori approach is holistic and aims to develop the whole child. Fundamental to the approach is the belief that a child’s early years from birth to six are the period when they have the greatest capacity to learn. The approach teaches children to have creative independent mindsets, which is under-pinned by a responsible & caring mindset.
Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori. Montessori education is practiced in an estimated 20,000 schools worldwide, serving children from birth to eighteen years old. Maria was the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome medical school and became interested in education through her work as a doctor, treating what today are known as children with special needs. When she went on to establish schools for the disadvantaged children of working parents in Rome she approached their education as a scientist, using the classroom as her laboratory for observing children and finding ways to help them to achieve their full potential.
It soon became apparent that Dr. Montessori had developed a highly effective method of teaching, which could be used with great success with each and every child. She began to travel the world, establishing schools, lecturing about her discoveries and writing many articles right up to her death in Holland in 1952 at the age of 82. She was a true pioneer of child-centred education.
Maria Montessori saw that children learn best by ‘doing’ and that happy self-motivated learners form positive images of themselves as confident, successful people. She created specially designed resources to foster independence and a love for learning from an early age.
How to help your Montessori child at home:
Respect and independence
Parents who apply the Montessori methods at home will see that their children learn to think of the world as an exciting place full of possibilities. They begin to know themselves as positive thinking people who can do all sorts of things for themselves. They think of adults as helpful friends who are always there if needed, but who never try to overly interfere or control their activities. This is because Montessori teachers really respect young children as individuals and treat them as dynamic natural learners.
Nurturing creative curiosity
Your Montessori child will come home from school buzzing with ideas about what has gone on in the day or what is likely to go on tomorrow! From cookery projects, to learning about the life-cycle of butterflies, to the joy of discovering the skills of counting and writing.
It is really helpful, if parents can provide home environments that support this confidence and creative curiosity. Your child needs you to slow down to his or her timetable, to spend time-sharing the things that he/ she is excited about or interested in. Depending on the projects they are studying many Montessori children become incredibly knowledgeable about such things as the different types of beetle, the shapes of leaves or the names of geometric shapes! It can be crushing if a mum and dad are too busy or tired to share in their child’s new knowledge or excitement.
Providing the tools
At school, Montessori children can access all the things they need without the help of adults. They may want to draw, cut, stick, count, write, make books, build towers or read. They learn that everything can be found in its own place and that it helps others if things get put back again in the same place. Montessori children tend to be pretty thoughtful about others and tidy.
If you can provide the same thing at home it will help your child to maintain the same level of consideration and independence. Special cupboards and shelves, all easily accessible, and beautiful materials and activities, all carefully laid out in boxes and trays, help the child feel that his or her work really matters. Many of the activities that are provided at school can easily be duplicated in the home. And if you ask your child’s teachers they will let you know what things your child is particularly interested in at the time. One of the most important things we can do for children is to follow their interests to really know what they are excited about and to provide as much support and further activities as possible for them to explore and understand.
The love of a child is like no other. At no other time in their lives will our children be so dependent on us getting it right. By choosing a school environment that is full of happy, sensitive, loving teachers and by providing a home environment that re-affirms to the child that he or she is an important person in the world, we allow each child to grow in trust and confidence and to become someone who cares about self, others and the larger world in which we live. The Montessori uses a holistic approach which aims to develop the whole child, through the belief that a child’s early years from birth to six are when they have the greatest capacity to learn.
For more information visit:
We have a Parents for Life course which raises the awareness on the importance of positive parenting and strategies on how to enhance your relationship with your child through key life stages.
We have an Increasing Wellbeing and Inclusion in Early Years Settings course