Otis' class director sent me this picture this afternoon. It's definitely one of those moments when I think 'this is why we chose Montessori'. This is why. In the cities we have lived there have many varied educational options and we have always gone back to Montessori. While I believe play is important and there is a place for play based programs, children must be given the opportunity to work. Would a four year old in a typical kindergarten or preschool be given the opportunity to form sentences, to learn about the role and purpose of full stops, to be learning phonograms? Here are a few other reason why we chose and stick with Montessori;
- Children learn when they are ready, learning is self paced. One child can be learning to count to while another can be learning division. We know children just don't learn the same things at the same time. The child is met where they are at. Isn't that fantastic!
- Begins with hands on, concrete learning and moves to abstract concepts and thinking. The maths area comes to mind, the hands learning and teaching mathematical concepts in a concrete way is why I love Montessori math materials. It builds a strong and solid foundation before abstract thinking is required.
- Fosters a natural love of learning, children are encouraged to follow their interests and passions (the interest and passions of others is respected also). Learning isn't forced, within the realm of the classroom (including the outdoor classroom) the child is choosing the work that they want to do.
- Is based on intrinsic motivation - not external rewards. Intrinsic motivation is something we want our children to have for life, we want them to be self driven, to have a strong ego, to achieve self satisfaction and not to be seeking the attention and approval of others.
- Fosters community, children are encouraged to help and assist each other and diversity is respected. Children work individually and in collaboration with each other. They are taught - as is the culture within a Montessori community to help another child (or adult!) when they identify a need. The children are given the opportunity to demonstrate to and help other children with their work.
- Respects the child. Children are treated as intellectual beings, they are not bribed, punished, they are not spoken down to. They are treated with respect and are valued. Each individual is valued for who they are, their interests, their strengths, their culture is celebrated.
- Teach by teaching - not correcting, much of the work in the younger years has a control of error meaning the child can determine for themselves if the work has been done correctly, there is no testing or marking. There is no competition within the classroom.
- Educates the whole child. Isn't amazing to think there is a whole area in the 3-6 year class that is for sensorial materials. That schools have practical life shelves. That care of self, care of others and care of environment is just as important as academics, movement is respected.
- Fosters independence, initiative, leadership.
- The children are taught to be global citizens. This means respecting the Earth and respecting each other. This means promoting peace. They grow to understand why diversity is important and the role we all play in protecting our planet.
- Montessori teachers. Due to the nature of the Montessori curriculum it means the teachers are required to observe the child and present lessons to them when the child is ready. For me this means our teachers know our children really well, how they learn best through to how they are feeling. Each lesson and interaction is tailored to the child. I also think it takes a pretty special person to become a Montessori teacher.
- The Montessori classroom. Furniture and materials tailored to the chid's needs. A focus on beautiful and natural environment from beautiful artwork, flowers on tables to lovely timber furniture. This is what I want for my children.
- The Montessori school. Montessori schools foster community. It isn't always evident on the surface but I have found that when needed the Montessori school community pulls together, they celebrate together, they learn from each other, they are there for each other. It's not just the parents, not just the teachers or the children, it's all in the community working together.
I wrote this post earlier and have just decided to publish it. It may confirm what you already know about Montessori schooling, but this is why we chose and continue to stick with Montessori.