http://novaonline.nv.cc.va.us/eli/evans/HIS135/Events/Montessori52/Montessori52.html 1870 August 31 - Maria Montessori is born in Chiaravalle, Ancona, Italy. 1875 Maria moves with her family to Rome (the actual date is in question depending on what source you look at; some books state she moved when she was 3, 5 or 12) 1882 Maria goes to a boys’ secondary school in order to study mathematics. 1886 Maria graduates from high school and enrolls in a technical school to study engineering. 1892 Maria begins her studies in medicine. 1896 July 10 -Maria receives her Doctorate of Medicine degree; she is the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome’s School of Medicine. September – Maria serves as a delegate for Italy at the International Congress for Women’s Rights in Berlin, Germany ; her proposal for equal pay for equal work for women is adopted. Maria is appointed assistant doctor at the Psychiatric Clinic in the University of Rome.
1897 Maria lectures on the importance of educating disabled children at a national medical congress and at a national teacher’s congress in Turin, Italy, 1898 Maria becomes a member of the National League for the Education of Retarded Children. Maria is appointed co-director with Dr. Giuseppe Montesano of the State Orthophrenic School (for mentally retarded children) in Rome. Sometime between 1898 and 1900 Maria gives birth to her out of wedlock son Mario. 1899 Maria is a lecturer at the women’s teacher-training college. 1900 Maria attends a feminist congress in London and speaks out against the exploitation of child labor. 1901 Maria leaves the Orthophrenic School and returns to the University to study psychology and philosophy. 1904 The University of Rome appoints Maria as a lecturer in science and medicine, and she chairs the Department of Anthropology. 1907 January 6 - Maria opens the first Casa dei Bambini in San Lorenzo, Italy. 1909 Summer – In Citta di Castello, the first Montessori training course is held. Maria’s book, The Montessori Method , is published in Italian.
1911 Anne George, an American, goes to Rome to take Maria’s training course. The first American Montessori school opens in Tarrytown, New York; this is the result of great interest in a long article about Montessori that was published in the American magazine, McClure . The Swiss and Italian public schools decide to use the Montessori Method as their standard system. 1912 The Montessori American Committee is formed by Anne George, Sam McClure and Mr. & Mrs. Bell; they organize the first international training course in Rome. Maria’s book The Montessori Method is translated into English. Renilde Stoppani Montessori dies in December. 1913 Maria visits the U.S. for the first time due to Sam McClure’s persuasion; there are already over one hundred Montessori schools in operation. Maria gives a lecture at New York’s Carnegie Hall on Dec. 6.The Montessori American Committee becomes the Montessori Educational Association under the direction of Mabel Bell (Alexander Graham Bell’s wife) as president. Spain’s first Montessori school opens. The Advanced Montessori Method ( The Pedagogical Anthropology ) is published.
1914 Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook is published. William Heard Kilpatrick, a leading American educational theorist at Columbia University, criticizes Montessori’s philosophy as being outdated. 1915 Maria sets up a classroom at San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition where thousands of people were able to observe her teaching method during the four months of the exhibit; the Montessori class won the only two gold medals for education. May – Maria conducted her first American training course in Los Angeles. Novembe r - Maria’s father dies while she was in the U.S., and she immediately returns home. 1916 The Montessori Educational Association (MEA) dissolves due to lack of support from Maria, and the Montessori movement in the U.S. dies down for some time. Maria gives her first training course in Barcelona, Spain, at the Seminari Laboratori de Pedagogia; students from Spain, Portugal, U.S. and Great Britain attended.
1917 Maria’s son Mario weds an American, Helen Christie. 1919 Maria lectures at a training course in England; her lectures now include methods and materials for 6-11 year olds. 1920 The Spanish government stops supporting the Montessori training institute due to Maria’s refusal to comply with the government’s politics. 1922 Maria is appointed a government inspector of schools in Italy. 1924 Maria meets with Mussolini, and he agrees that the Italian government should again support Montessori schools. 1927 The Montessori Society of Argentina is founded after Maria’s lectures in Buenos Aires, La Plata and Cordoba. 1929 The Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) is founded in Berlin, Germany. 1930 The Child in the Church is published. 1931 Mussolini closes all the Montessori schools because the teachers would not pledge loyalty to Fascism. Maria leaves Italy and returns to Spain.
1932 Peace and Education and The Mass Explained to Children are published. 1935 The AMI relocates to Amsterdam and continues to be headquartered there. 1936 The Spanish Civil War begins and Maria leaves Spain for England. Maria is invited to reside in Holland by one of her students, Ada Pierson. The Secret of Childhood and The Child in the Family are published. 1939 Maria and Mario fly to India to escape World War II (Mahatma Gandhi had visited the Casa dei Bambini in Rome). Erdkinder and the Function of the University (The Reform of Education During and After Adolescence) is published. 1940 June - Mario is sent to a prison camp because he is Italian (enemy alien) and India is under British rule. Maria is, however, given permission to travel around India. 31 August – Mario is returned to his mother as a 70 th birthday gift from the Indians. A palm leaf roof hut is built as Maria’s training center in Madras. 1946 August – Maria and Mario return to Holland and then travel to England. Education for a New World is published.
1947 Maria and Mario start a training center in London, England, with Margaret Homfray and Phoebe Child as directresses. Maria and Mario traveled for two years all around India (Madras, Bombay, Gwailor) and to Ceylon and Pakistan. 1948 The Discovery of the Child is published. 1949 Maria addressed the Eighth International Montessori Congress with hopes that those in attendance (Catholics, Quakers, Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists) could all work together to bring peace throughout the world. The Absorbent Mind is published . Maria Montessori is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. December – France bestows Maria with the Cross of the Legion of Honor (France’s highest honor). 1950 To Educate the Human Potential, What You Should Know About Your Child and The Formation of Man are published. Maria addresses the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and receives standing ovations after each speech. Maria Montessori is nominated again for the Nobel Peace Prize.
1951 Maria Montessori is nominated a third time for the Nobel Peace Prize. Maria Montessori addresses a United Nations education conference in Florence, Italy. 1952 May 6 - Maria Montessori dies at the age of 81 in Noordwijk aan Zee, Holland. 1960 The American Montessori Society (AMS) is formed. 1967 The US Patent and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board denied exclusive trademark and registration of the term “Montessori” to any one particular organization. 1990 The Italian government honors Dr. Maria Montessori by putting her on the 1000 Lire paper currency note. 2003 Today there are over 7,000 Montessori schools all around the world.
The Basic Philosophy of Montessori <ul><li>To follow the child and to meet his needs </li></ul><ul><li>Achieved through the pyramid of Montessori Principles: </li></ul><ul><li>- The Child – The Prepared Environment – The Trained Directress </li></ul><ul><li>Belief: child’s innate potential = SPIRITUAL EMBRYO = unusual capacity for self-construction containing predetermined plan for its development. </li></ul><ul><li>Creative sensitivities – enable child to choose from complex environment what is suitable & necessary for his growth. </li></ul><ul><li>Internal aids: Sensitive Periods = blocks of time when child is absorbed with just one characteristic of his environment; appears in repetition & explosions </li></ul><ul><li>Absorbent Mind = allows an unconscious assimilation of the environment into his psychic life until he is able to establish memory, power to understand, and ability to reason. </li></ul><ul><li>Conditions for psychic plan to be revealed: </li></ul><ul><li>- relationship with his environment; interaction, understanding, integration </li></ul><ul><li>- freedom: his sensitive & unique powers can only come forth through his </li></ul><ul><li>autonomy. </li></ul><ul><li>Without these two conditions, the child’s personality will be stunted. </li></ul>
More Features of the Montessori Method <ul><li>Emphasizes the uniqueness of each child & recognizes that children are different from adults in the way they develop and think. </li></ul><ul><li>As an educational approach, the method focuses on the individuality of each child in respect to their needs or talents…a goal is to help the child maintain their natural joy & zest for life and learning. </li></ul><ul><li>Montessori believed in children’s rights, the value & importance of children’s work to develop themselves into adults > for world peace </li></ul><ul><li>This method discourages traditional measurement of achievement as negative competition, damaging to inner growth of the child. Feedback & qualitative analysis of the child’s performance exists; narrative of strengths & weakness; points for growth. </li></ul><ul><li>Deficiencies in one area are treated as points to work on, not as failures. </li></ul><ul><li>The method encourages a great deal of independence – freedom within appropriate limits always linked with responsibility </li></ul><ul><li>Younger children are guided in practical life skills toward taking of themselves, maintaining their environment & interacting gracefully with others </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfaction, contentment & joy result from the child having access & guidance to be full participants in daily activities. </li></ul>
The Montessori Philosophy http:..home.gowebway.com/-peterj/programs/method.htm (adapted) Montessori’s Aim to develop the whole personality of the child through motor, sensory and intellectual activity. Montessori Classroom mini community where each child, working at his own level, may acquire self-reliance and self-discipline. Working/learning together foster courtesy, consideration for others, neatness, order and self-control. These activities encourage the acquisition of values from within the child than from outside.
<ul><li>Characteristics of an Authentic Montessori School </li></ul><ul><li>Child-centered Curriculum – focus is children learning within small groups or individually. </li></ul><ul><li>Responsive Prepared Environment – meets the needs of the children; furniture are child-size so they can explore & master their environment. Materials are chosen based on children’s abilities & are changed frequently to stimulate their minds </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on Individual Progress and Development- each child is viewed as unique & proceeds at his own pace. </li></ul>
Hands-On Learning – materials are real things children can touch and learn from. Concrete models are used to allow children to better understand abstract concepts & the environment. Spontaneous Activity – children are encouraged to move about freely and explore their surroundings within clearly defined limits. Active Learning – the curriculum selects subjects which interest the child, are of academic importance and aimed at long-term progress. Students may choose to work with materials that may take weeks or months to master and then are encouraged to share their knowledge with other students
<ul><li>Self-Directed Activity-children are encouraged to master things on their own… By fostering their independence they become more self-directed. </li></ul><ul><li>Freedom Within Limits – children enjoy freedom of choice within clearly defined guidelines set by teachers within the classrooms. </li></ul><ul><li>Intrinsic Motivation to Learn – by setting up visually stimulating environment and providing interesting activities to explore and by using the unique nature preserve, the child’s intrinsic motivation to learn and appreciate is fostered. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Authentic Approach. Authentic Montessori </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.montessori.com </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Montessori: given the right environment, children could learn anything… it is so important that a Montessori school provide all of the proven tools and methods she developed and perfected for the modern world. </li></ul><ul><li>Classrooms: designed to promote self-direction and self-discipline, to allow children to create their own substantive body of knowledge through exploration and observation, following their own interests at their own pace. </li></ul><ul><li>Highly qualified teachers: directors/directress observe, offer guidance and support while children build their own cognitive and creative abilities. </li></ul><ul><li>The result: children who are engaged and interested in learning, and eager to advance. </li></ul>
<ul><li>How can one tell that a school is a true expression of Montessori’s Method: </li></ul><ul><li>Your Child– at the center of any authentic school. By mastering the lessons that naturally appeal to him, he gains confidence to explore less familiar/more challenging work. The child’s confidence and independence: root of human dignity. </li></ul><ul><li>The Teacher- extensively trained, had hands-on experience in an accredited Montessori training center. She is at the heart of the school and works from a deep understanding of every single child… a keen observer with skills to assess each child’s readiness for new challenges. </li></ul>
3. The Environment (classroom)- is a beautiful, clean and quiet place where children are naturally drawn to work and cooperate in a constructive manner. Children are in multi-aged groups where they are free to explore, move, share or work independently. There is no limit to each lesson as children are free to work on a given task for as long as they wish. The sense of community is emphasized by younger children from the older ones and the older ones learning the responsibilities of teaching, sharing and setting good examples.
<ul><li>Montessori’s Dynamic Theories </li></ul><ul><li>Premises: </li></ul><ul><li>Children are to be respected as different as different from adults and as individuals who are different from one another. </li></ul><ul><li>Children create themselves through purposeful activity. </li></ul><ul><li>The most important years for learning are from birth to age six. </li></ul><ul><li>Children possess unusual sensitivity and mental powers for absorbing and learning from their environment, which includes people as well as materials. </li></ul>
<ul><li>4. The Materials- made of real wood, precisely crafted to please the child’s senses in order to attract and encourage their exploration and curiosity. </li></ul><ul><li>The children’s inherent love of learning is encouraged by giving them the opportunity to be spontaneous, and engage in meaningful activities under the guidance of a trained instructor. </li></ul><ul><li>Through their work children develop concentration, motivation, persistence, and discipline. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Dr. Maria Montessori believed that the early years of a child's life are paramount to the development of personality and intellect. Because mental development during these early years proceeds at an accelerated rate, and must not be overlooked. </li></ul><ul><li>Montessori Curriculum focuses on these five key developmental areas, so as to build a solid foundation for the child's future learning: </li></ul><ul><li>Sensory and Perceptual Development </li></ul><ul><li>Self-help Skills </li></ul><ul><li>Language Skills </li></ul><ul><li>Physical and Motor Skills </li></ul><ul><li>Social and Emotional Growth </li></ul>Montessori program is designed for use of children up to around 12 years of age. Most Montessori schools are at preschool level. However, there are an increasing number of Montessori schools which work with children through the higher grade
TWELVE POINTS OF THE MONTESSORI METHOD By E.M. Standing (adapted) Basic Tenets of the Montessori Method Discussion 1. It is based on years of patient observation of the child’s nature by the greatest educational genius since Froebel Authorities agree on the importance of studying each child in order to understand him 2. It has proved itself of universal application. Within a single generation it has been tried with complete success with children of almost every civilized nation. Race, color, climate, nationality, social rank, type of civilization – all these make no difference to its successful application. Success of the method is not true only to a certain place but all over the world. Application of the approach surpasses all types of differences. 3. It has revealed the small child as a lover of work, intellectual work, spontaneously chosen and carried out with profound joy. Children always love to do something without hesitation or inhibition and they are pleased.
4. It is based on the child’s mental growth, corresponding occupations are provided by means of which he develops his faculties. Ability to work depends on their maturity… this promotes growth and development. 5. While it offers the child a maximum of spontaneity, it nevertheless enables him to reach the same or even a higher level of scholastic attainment as under the old systems. The method provides opportunity for free expression and maximum achievement. It motivates him to soar to heights. 6. Though it does away with the necessity of coercion by means of rewards and punishments, it achieves a higher discipline than formerly. It is an active discipline, which originates within the child and is not imposed from without. Children are not forced to do anything they are not interested to do. Intrinsic discipline is born out of one’s desire to manage self.
7. It is based on a profound respect for the child’s personality and removes from him room to grow biological independence. Hence the child is allowed a large measure of liberty (not license), which forms the basis of real discipline. Individual differences / uniqueness is respected and the child’s awareness of others around him makes him realize they too have rights. 8. It enables the teacher to deal with each child individually in each subject, and thus guide him according to his individual requirements. Each child has his own needs >teachers need to be sensitive to these so they can respond. 9. Each child works at his own pace. Hence the quick child is not held back by the slow, nor is the latter, in trying to keep up with the former, obliged to flounder along hopelessness out of his depth. Each stone in the mental edifice is “well and truly laid” before the next is added. Learning styles vary: visual, auditory, kinesthetic; learning, growth & development patterns as well as children’s intelligences vary. Adults ought to be aware of these.
By living as free members of a real social community, the child is trained in those fundamental social qualities, which form the basis of good citizenship. 10. It does away with the competitive spirit and its train of baneful (immoral) results. More than this, at every turn it presents endless opportunities among the children for mutual help – which is joyfully given and gratefully received. Cooperation is prioritized over competition. In this way will children develop social skills, camaraderie and mutual consideration. 11. Since the child works from his own free choice, without competition and coercion, he is freed from danger of overstrain, feelings of inferiority, and other experiences which are apt to be the unconscious cause of profound mental disturbances in later life. Learning is fun and meaningful when the experience is stress-free and when the task is not strenuous. The child is led to make his own decisions as he is free to make choices. 12. Finally, the Montessori method develops the whole personality of the child, not merely his intellectual faculties but also his powers of deliberation, initiative and independent choice, with their emotional complements. Holistic development results from the integrated curriculum implemented in an interdisciplinary approach.
Comparison Between Montessori Education and Traditional Education Traditional Education Montessori Education All at one age Three-year age span, mixed Teacher-motivated, teacher-dominated Motivated by self-development Teacher corrects errors Self-correcting materials Teacher lectures Hands-on learning, manipulating materials Group learning Individual learning Teacher is focal point & dominant influence Teacher observer and directress Activity cycles determined by set time Cycles of activity completed w/in child’s time Assigned specific class periods Freedom to move and work Materials used with no proper instruction Materials used in sequence & with demo. Teacher provides discipline Environment provides discipline Seek help from teacher Encouraged to help each other (interdependence) Teacher sets curriculum, she sets pace Child chooses material, sets his own pace Class as group studies one subject at a time Children pursue own self-paced curriculum Children are taught by “truth middleman” Children are in direct contact w/ the environment
Class schedules limit child’s involvement Long blocks of time allow concentration Relatively frequent interruptions; bells, etc Relatively few interruptions; limited intervention Postponement of cognitive dev’t ‘til 1 st grade Critical cognitive skills developed before 6 Much role-playing Reality-oriented All children are treated alike Recognition of individual sensitive periods Teacher continuously guides child Child is free to discover alone Materials placed at random Carefully organized environment Use of reward & punishment in motivation Self-education through didactic materials Community needs take precedence Respect for child is foremost Children are grouped chronologically Non-graded; two or three age span Pervasive emphasis on grades, merits Self-humanization if the root motivation Play materials – non-specific skills Multi-sensory to develop skills Class is seated at desks Students work at tables, floor, free to move
The Summary http://www.montessorilovetolearn.com/curriculum.asp?page=5 Today's children are entering the most complex living situation that any society has yet devised. It becomes crucial that children be able to cope with and adapt to the ever-changing facets of life. Montessori Elementary children receive a well-rounded elementary school education. The classrooms are rich in materials as well as opportunities. Because of its individuality, the curriculum allows the child to advance in all levels of work. We guide and direct your child's insatiable curiosity and sensitivity into many areas of knowledge through a feeling of self-discovery. Self-discovery becomes their experience, they feel it, they sense it. They start to become their own person.
A Philosophy Of Curriculum by Tim Seldin, Headmaster, 1971-93 http://www.montessori.org/story.php?id=223 The Barrie School is designed to prepare children both for university and for life. There are three key ideas that are central to our mission as a school: • It is not the adult who shapes the child; it is the child who, through his experiences, creates an adult human being." • Teaching is not something that one can do to another, we can only facilitate the natural process of learning. • There is a clear connection between one's sense of self, of being fully alive and open to new ideas and experience, and ability to learn.
Recognizing this, we are engaged in a process of facilitating the development of self-actualized renaissance men and women. Such people are teacher-proof. They have learned how to learn, and see school as a center of an enjoyable lifelong experience. Children with values such as these will normally go on to college, perhaps after first taking a year off for work or travel, as the natural extension of their previous education. For some time we have been struggling to resolve the debate over the appropriate balance between our objective of cultivating the child's spontaneous interest in learning, and the expectations of parents and society.
Normally a school is perceived as the transmitter of culture from one generation to the next through a formal curriculum. This is certainly an important part of our mission. However, as a Montessori school, we are equally committed to the development of responsible members of the human family, and the protection of the child's fragile spark of curiosity and creativity. Most children know far more about the world before they start school then the will show a few years later when they have learned to be passive learners who don't trust their senses, intellect, and imagination. Therefore, our greatest task is to help our students to rediscover their brain's ability to think, intuit, and discover; to develop a sense of independence, sequence, and order; to learn how to learn. At the same time, as an independent school, parents come to us and pay a great deal of money in tuition for services available from the government schools for which they have already paid through their taxes.
They come to us seeking quality programs and services! Their highest priorities are: 1. academic excellence 2. character development Clearly they expect their children to be well prepared for university, but beyond this, they are looking for a school experience that will offer something special that will make the school experience intellectually exciting and develop a wide-range of talents and interests. The delivery of these services is difficult to document from our end, and from the parent's end, even more difficult to evaluate. Thus, parents expect to be kept abreast of the programs that address these goals, and, their children's progress in each program. As a result, we work carefully to maintain this delicate balance .
Our curriculum can be thought of as having two aspects: 1. The school's basic expectations for what will be first introduced, worked on, or reviewed and targeted for mastery by 85%-90% of all students at each age/grade level. 2. The lessons that arise out of the children's natural curiosity. While we follow a planned syllabus to give us cohesion and structure, we should never be satisfied with a year spent giving students set lessons from the prescribed syllabus: in order to satisfy, and at the same time, stimulate the children's interest, we have to farther and faster than that! By providing the children with all sorts of books, pictures, specimens, and artifacts, we can almost guarantee that we will stir up their curiosity and encourage them to expand their scope of learning horizontally. By this, we mean to suggest that, instead of moving on through the set curriculum more quickly, that we allow the children to explore additional related topics that capture their interest.
Our curriculum should be designed to intrigue children and develop in them a lifelong love of learning . No topic is presented just once and forgotten; lessons are introduced quite concretely in the early years and are reintroduced later at increasing degrees of complexity and abstraction . Students gain experience and develop skills at one level of understanding, which prepares them for more complex lessons at the next level. The spiral of the Montessori curriculum has no end, and the depth to which any topic can be pursued is limited only by a student's interests and ability. At the same time, our expectations as a college preparatory school are quite high; challenging each student to his/her fullest individual potential, and establishing a clear standard of achievement and quality of thought and work. We encourage accelerated students to expand their studies horizontally, researching topics at greater depth and a more sophisticated level of thought and analysis.
Our course of study is consciously multi-disciplinary . It is an examination of the natural world and the human experience that interconnects the traditionally separate subject disciplines. Units of study often cut across the curriculum , weaving together, as one example, the land, flora and fauna, folk tales, art, dance, poetry, architecture, history, everyday life, and cooking of a country under study. Our curriculum has no outer limits except for humanity’s knowledge and imagination. At the same time, our core curriculum has been carefully structured to establish benchmarks for achievement of the normal student by the end of each level within the Academy. While we recognize that some students may not, for one reason or another, keep up with all of the benchmarks for his or her age level, they define a standard of our expectations .
At its finest, Montessori is an incredibly elaborate model of education. We don't advocate using all these tricks and devices simply to make the school day pass more pleasantly or to better prepare students for their standardized tests at the end of the year. These are only secondary objectives. The real aim of education is to prepare children to live lives filled with personal satisfaction, as responsible, concerned citizens of the Earth. An important element in achieving that goal is the development of knowledge and understanding about the world today: civilization . However, along with this must come self knowledge, self-respect, compassion, and a mind and heart open to new ideas and information . Our goal is to help children to learn how to learn.
Montessori Method History http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montessori_method#Practical_Life Dr. Maria Montessori developed what came to be called the Montessori Method as an outgrowth of her post-graduate research into the intellectual development of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities . Building on the work of French physicians Jean Itard and Edouard Seguin , she developed an environment for the scientific study of children with physical and mental disabilities. After successes in treating these children, she began to study the application of her techniques to the education of children without intellectual or developmental disabilities.
By 1906, Montessori was well known enough that she was asked to head a day-care center in Rome's run-down San Lorenzo district . She used the opportunity to observe the children's interactions with materials developed to appeal to the senses ( sensorial materials ), refining them as well as developing new materials with which the children could work . This self-directed, interactive, materials-centered approach , in which the teacher mainly observes while the children select objects specifically designed to impart conceptual frameworks or skills, is a hallmark of Montessori education . Montessori's initial work focused on children of preschool age. After observing developmental changes in children just commencing elementary school, and recognizing that young children's thought or cognitive processes are inherently different from those of adults, Montessori and her son, Mario, began a new course of research to adapt her approach to elementary-school children.
American Montessori In the years after 1907 Dr. Montessori's work spread to the US, as it did to many countries. Many well-regarded American figures (Alexander Graham Bell and his wife, Thomas Edison, President Wilson) were quick to recognize the value of her work with children and sought to encourage her and collaborate. In 1911, a series of schools using Montessori methods and equipment were founded by innovative educators in the United States, called the Modern School Movement . In New York, a Modern School founded by Alexander Berkman , Emma Goldman , and others, known as the Ferrer Center , was one of the first to adopt the Montessori method. In 1912 Dr. Montessori delivered a talk to a standing-room-only audience at Carnegie Hall in New York. By 1915 she had been invited to participate in the Pan-Pacific World's Fair in San Francisco, celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal. There she had set-up a fully functioning classroom to be on display to attendees.
This early American enthusiasm for Montessori was short-lived, after the publication of a critical booklet by William Kilpatrick in 1914. By 1920 Montessori schools had virtually disappeared from the United States. Their resurgence didn't occur until after 1960, when Nancy McCormick Rambusch and Margaret Stephenson, who had each worked with Dr. Montessori in Europe, separately came to the US. Since 1961 Montessori's work has been on a steady, and growing, incline. There are over 5000 Montessori schools in the US today.
Philosophy Introduction to the methodology in practice With the opening of Montessori's first school in 1907 in Rome, her surname became associated with schools that used her educational approach to children as well as her educational materials tailored to children's developmental needs. Many schools throughout the world implement her approach to education for a wide range of ages. Maria Montessori stated: "From the moment the child enters the classroom, each step in his education is seen as a progressive building block, ultimately forming the whole person, in the emergence from childhood to adult. All focus is on the needs of the child."
One distinguishing feature of Montessori at the preschool age is that children direct their own learning , choosing among the sections of a well structured and stocked classroom, including Practical Life (fine and gross motor skills), Sensorial (senses and brain), Language, Mathematics, Geography, Science, and Art. The role of a teacher is to introduce children to materials and then remain a "silent presence “ in the classroom. Montessori schools pride themselves on catering to individuals students' personalities and needs, rather than viewing them as part of a classroom. Students are encouraged to teach and help each other.
Concepts The Montessori philosophy is built upon the idea that children develop and think differently from adults; that they are not merely "adults in small bodies". Dr. Montessori advocated children's rights , children working to develop themselves into adults, and that these developments would lead to world peace . The Montessori method discourages traditional measurements of achievement (grades, tests) under the premise that it is damaging to the inner growth of children (as well as adults). Feedback and qualitative analysis of a child's performance does exist but is usually provided in the form of a list of skills, activities and critical points, and sometimes a narrative of the child's achievements, strengths and weaknesses, with emphasis on the improvement of those weaknesses. "We instill a desire to learn and provide things to feed that desire", says Fosca White, director of the Montessori Academy of Chicago, IL.
<ul><li>The premises of a Montessori approach to teaching and learning include the following: </li></ul><ul><li>That children are capable of self-directed learning . </li></ul><ul><li>That it is critically important for the teacher to be an "observer" of the child instead of a lecturer. </li></ul><ul><li>This observation of the child interacting with his or her environment is the basis for the ongoing presentation of new material and avenues of learning. </li></ul><ul><li>Presentation of subsequent exercises for skill development and information accumulation are based on the teacher's observation that the child has mastered the current exercises. </li></ul><ul><li>That there are numerous "sensitive periods" of development (periods of a few weeks or even months), during which a child's mind is particularly open to learning specific skills or knowledge such as crawling, sitting, walking, talking, reading, counting, and various levels of social interaction. </li></ul><ul><li>These skills are learned effortlessly and joyfully. Learning one of these skills outside of its corresponding sensitive period is certainly possible, but can be difficult and frustrating. </li></ul>
<ul><li>That children have an "absorbent mind" from birth to around age 6, possessing limitless motivation to achieve competence within their environment and to perfect skills and understandings. </li></ul><ul><li>This phenomenon is characterized by the young child's capacity for repetition of activities within sensitive period categories, such as exhaustive babbling as language practice leading to language competence. </li></ul><ul><li>That children are masters of their school room environment , which has been specifically prepared for them to be academic, comfortable, and to encourage independence by giving them the tools and responsibility to manage its upkeep. </li></ul><ul><li>That children learn through discovery , so didactic materials with a control for error are used. Through the use of these materials, which are specific to Montessori schools (sets of letters, blocks and science experiments) children learn to correct their own mistakes instead of relying on a teacher to give them the correct answer. </li></ul><ul><li>That children most often learn alone during periods of intense concentration . During these self-chosen and spontaneous periods, the child is not to be interrupted by the teacher. </li></ul><ul><li>That the hand is intimately connected to the developing brain in children. Children must actually touch the shapes, letters, temperatures, etc. that they are learning about--not just watch a teacher or TV screen tell them about these discoveries. </li></ul>
Implementation Montessori is a highly hands-on approach to learning. It encourages children to develop their observation skills by doing many types of activities. These activities include use of the five senses , kinetic movement , spatial refinement, small/large motor skill coordination, and concrete knowledge that leads to later abstraction .
Classrooms Montessori classrooms provide an atmosphere that is pleasant and attractive to allow children to learn at their own pace and interact with others in a natural and peaceful environment . In the ideal classroom, children would have unfettered access to the outdoors, but this is frequently not possible given modern day space considerations and cost. In response, Montessori teachers stock their classrooms with nature shelves, living plants and small pets, or perhaps a window-sill garden, allowing children to experience as much of the natural world as possible given modern constraints. In the elementary, middle, and upper school years, Montessori schools ideally adhere to the three-year age range of pupils to encourage an interactive social and learning environment. This system allows flexibility in learning pace and allowing older children to become teachers by sharing what they have learned.
Practical Life This area is designed to help students develop a care for themselves, the environment, and each other . In the Primary years (3-6), children learn how to do things such as; pouring and scooping, using various kitchen utensils, washing dishes, polishing objects, scrubbing tables, and cleaning up. They also learn how to dress themselves, tie their shoes, wash their hands, and other various self-care needs. They learn these through a wide variety of materials and activities. While caring for yourself and your environment is an important part of Montessori Practical Life education in these years, it also presumes to prepare the child for more : The activities may build a child's concentration as well as being designed in many cases to prepare the child for writing.
For the first three years of life , children absorb a sense of order in their environment. They learn how to act a certain way naturally by absorbing it. In these ages, from 3-6, the children are learning how to both build their own order and discover, understand, and refine the order they already know. Strong concentration and attention to detail are typical Montessori traits. Language preparation comes in many forms in the practical life area. Fine motor skills used in a pencil grip help the child develop that grip in order to use a pencil more easily. Practical life in the elementary years and high school years involves many of the same skills, but also begins to take a bigger drive towards community service oriented activities.
Sensorial All learning first comes to us through the senses . By isolating something that is being taught, the child can more easily focus on it. Colors are taught with the color tablets. The color tablets are all exactly the same except for one thing - their color in the middle. This helps take away the confusion for the child and helps them to focus on specifically what blue is. Exact phrasing of terms is important. An oval is not an "egg shape." A sphere is not a "ball." The Montessori method places great emphasis on using the correct terminology for what we see . This is readily apparent in the sensorial area. The sensorial area also falls over into the math area quite regularly. The red rods in the sensorial area are a direct link to the segmented rods in math that teach 1-10. The pink tower has a connection to units and thousands that the child learns later in the 3-6 curriculum. Even the trinomial cube will be used in the elementary years to figure out complex mathematical formulas.
Cultural This includes both the studies of the world and various cultures. Montessori children achieve an early understanding not only of the concept of a continent, country, and state, but also the names of many countries around the world. Montessori method implements colored maps to assist the children to remember continents, countries, and states. More importantly, the goal is to acquire an understanding of the various cultures and what they offer . When a student is doing the map of Asia, pictures, stories, facts about different Asian countries, and a variety of learning opportunities open up to give the child a real sense of the world and how it is different - even within the same area.
For the elementary years, a very in-depth cultural curriculum is implemented. Children begin to learn about the capital states and begin learning about governments. The Montessori teacher is present as a guide to help draw in different aspects for the child to look into and research, rather than having to be the source of all the information. A focus on appreciating and enjoying other cultures is a core part of the cultural curriculum . A child has the freedom to direct their interest in geography and expand it to a wide range of learning opportunities in different areas. For example, a child may decide to study the history of his city which might begin with early settlers. People may have settled in that area because it was near a river. This information may lead the child to include, in his study, the different natural life around the river and how that may have helped the early settlers. The growth rate of the area in different time periods may also be included and presented in the form of a graph. In one cultural lesson, the child therefore may include math, science, history, and geography in one study. This is just an example, but the possibilities of what a child takes interest in are endless.
Science The science curriculum takes advantage of the child's natural questioning and draws a curriculum for the 3-6 age range. Children at the early childhood age are very detail-oriented . They know what a bird is. At this age they want to know the various body parts of a bird. They want to know the life cycle of different animals. They begin to really look at the parts of a plant and wonder, "What are those long things coming out of the middle of a flower?"
Language The language curriculum, especially in the early years, involves everything from vocabulary development to writing to reading. Children learn their basic letter sounds through the use of sandpaper letters; the letters are cut from sandpaper and glued to a wooden board. As the child traces the letter, tactile learning of how the letter feels is implemented. the children can also feel if a mistake was made because of the different texture of the sandpaper from the board. They begin constructing words before they can actually read words with the moveable alphabet, a large box of cut out letters made from wood or plastic.
<ul><li>Grammar , story-writing and reports are focused on during the elementary years. Grammar is taught with very hands-on materials. In a 6-9 classroom, the child learns about nouns, verbs, adjectives, articles, prepositions, adverbs, conjunctions, pronouns, and interjections. </li></ul><ul><li>The children use grammar symbols that represent each part of speech. </li></ul><ul><li>The symbols are placed over the particular part of speech in a sentence. </li></ul><ul><li>They are: </li></ul><ul><li>Noun - large black triangle. A triangle is used because it represents a very sturdy object and something that is concrete. </li></ul><ul><li>Article - small, light blue triangle. </li></ul><ul><li>Adjective - medium size, dark blue triangle. The triangles are used with articles and adjectives because they are part of the noun family. </li></ul><ul><li>Verb - Red Circle. The red circle is used because it represents action. </li></ul><ul><li>Conjunction - pink line. A pink line is used here to represent a ribbon that ties the ideas together. </li></ul><ul><li>Preposition - green bridge. A green bridge is used because a preposition connects two nouns together and bridges their relationship. </li></ul><ul><li>Adverb - smaller orange circle. Since the adverb is related to the verb, it also uses a circle. </li></ul><ul><li>Interjection - a golden object that looks like an exclamation point or key hole. </li></ul>
Math Children go from a very solid understanding of math to a more abstract concept. For example, the difference between 1, 10, 100, and 1000 because they have felt it countless times. They felt it originally in the pink tower when they were 3 years old and later in the math materials. The idea of squares and cubes becomes concrete because of the use of the Montessori Bead Cabinet. As stated above, the sensorial leads into the math area very well. A child who attended a 3-6 Montessori classroom will have likely worked with a material called the trinomial cube. After working with it in 3-6 for several years, then in a 6-9 classroom extensively, the student may be ready to take on another phase of the material. Rather than working with it as a sensorial material, by matching up colors and shapes, a 9 year old might be ready to use it to understand that: (a+b+c)³ = a³+3a²b+3a²c+b³+3ab²+3b²c+c³+3ac²+3bc²+6abc The child can then work out the math equation to figure out the cube of a+b+c with different variables. This is just one example of how sensorial materials cross over into math.
<ul><li>3 period lesson </li></ul><ul><li>For many presentations, a 3 step process is used in the lesson. This is called the "3 period lesson." </li></ul><ul><li>2 or 3 materials are selected from what the children are working with. </li></ul><ul><li>Period 1 consists of providing the child with the name of the material . In the case of letter sounds, the teacher will have the child trace the letter and say, "This is /k/. This is /m/." </li></ul><ul><li>This provides the children with the name of what they are learning. </li></ul><ul><li>Period 2 is to help the child recognize the different objects . Most of the time with the three period lesson is in period 2. Some things the teacher might say are, "Point to /k/. Point to /m/." or "Give me /m/. Give me /k/." After spending some time in the 2nd period, the child may move on to period 3. </li></ul><ul><li>Period 3 involves checking to see if the child not only recognizes the name of the material, but is able to tell you what it is . The teacher will point to the "m" sandpaper letter and ask the student, "What is this?" If the child replies with, "mmmmmmmmmmmmmm," we know the child fully understands it. </li></ul>
INTRODUCING A NEW CHILD TO THE MONTESSORI ENVIRONMENT http://www.montessori.edu.sg/curri.asp When introducing a new child to the Montessori environment, parents and their children who are incoming students are encouraged to visit the school a few times prior to commencement of the child's term. New children are also invited to visit in groups of 2 – 5 and stay in the school for a short while with an aim of helping them to familiarize themselves with the classroom and teachers. It has been found that such procedures make it less traumatic for the children to part with their parents. At the beginning of the child's term, Parents or other accompanying adults are advised, to leave the children at the gate rather than walk them into the school as, in our experience; this eases the parting from the adult. Thereafter, the child accepts the parting and does not find the parting, a problem. At the beginning, Montessori materials are not presented to the new children as they may be unsettled and not receptive to such materials. In these circumstances, it is advisable to gather the new children in a small group and offer them, what called, “ the preliminary activities”.
These activities are not necessarily a method of development but are offered with the intention of helping the new children settle down. The essence of all subject matters and methods explained here constitute that the Montessori Method of education develops the child at his/her own pace. The child becomes aware of the environment and learns in an absorbent manner . The classroom does not have a specific time table, although, self-motivation of the children and unobtrusive direction by the adults ensure that the children receive a well-rounded and comprehensive education fully preparing them for entry to primary school. This has been well proven. A detailed curriculum should be made available to parents of children currently enrolled.