María Montessori, one of the most important educators of the last century, emphasized the need for an early education focused on the true needs of the child .


What is the Montessori Method?

Montessori is a philosophy and method of education that emphasizes the potential of the child and develops that potential using specially trained teachers and special teaching materials. A method that has been around for more than 75 years and has achieved worldwide recognition and success.

Montessori recognizes in children a natural curiosity and desire to learn . The materials used in this teaching process awaken that desire and channel curiosity towards a learning experience that children are able to enjoy. Montessori materials help children understand what they are learning by associating an abstract concept with a concrete sensory experience. In this way, the Montessori child is learning and not just memorizing. The Montessori method emphasizes that children learn and progress at their own pace, so that neither the fastest nor the slowest can become frustrated.

The Montessori philosophy ultimately focuses on the needs of children , but those related to the process of development and learning. Likewise, his educational theories were based on the way in which a child should develop naturally and be educated in a system that meets this reality.


A child-centered education

María Montessori believed that no human being is actually educated by another person, because people can teach themselves. For example, a truly educated person will continue to learn even after school, because they are motivated from within by a natural curiosity and by their own love of knowledge. Therefore, Montessori felt that the goal of early education should not be to fill children with predetermined ideas and studies, but to cultivate a natural desire to learn . Montessori experiments made the child the center of education and today its program and message continue to be adapted to the interests and needs of children.

This type of education allows children to focus with enthusiasm and motivation , as well as to gain a real and deep understanding of their work. This intellectual progress, in turn, is accompanied by emotional growth, which is very important, as it allows children to enjoy movement, to be independent, honest and generous.

In addition, Montessori discovered that during the growth of children there are various sensitivities and characteristics that guide physical and mental development . He called these phases of growth “sensitive periods” and they are recognizable, for example, through the intense interest that children sometimes show in certain sensory and abstract experiences. In turn, he discovered that sensitivities constitute true needs in the child and that they are universal for all of them.


The role of the teacher in education

The role of the teacher in a classroom with this learning system differs considerably from that of the traditional teacher, and Montessori preferred to call them “principals.” The director or director must put children in contact with the world in which they live and give them the necessary tools to face the world. The teacher or principal is first and foremost a keen observer of each child’s individual interests and needs, and his daily plan comes from his observations, rather than a predetermined curriculum. This way of proceeding demonstrates the correct use of the materials, which are individually chosen by the children, and results in careful observation of progress and the recording of it. The total individual development of the children, as well as their progress towards self-discipline, is carefully guided by the principal, who prepares the environment, directs the activities and offers each child the necessary stimulation. The mutual respect of the student and the guidance of the teacher is ultimately the most important factor in this whole process.


How the Montessori classroom works

The Montessori classroom offers children the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of graded materials . The child can grow as his interests guide him from one level of complexity to another. You can also work in groups made up of individuals of different ages, abilities, cultures and interests, allowing younger children a series of role models and older children the opportunity to reinforce their own knowledge by helping younger children.

Montessori classrooms offer about five hundred unique self-study teaching materials , valid for different skill levels, which are manipulated by children live and direct. They are not “teaching aids” in the traditional sense, because their real objective is not to teach children skills or impart knowledge, but to help the child’s mental development and self-construction. The Montessori classroom helps this growth by providing stimuli that capture the child’s attention and initiate a process of concentration. Children then use the materials to develop coordination, attention to detail, and good work habits.

Each child is taught individually and works at their own pace and at their own level . In this way, children are believed to have a unique opportunity to discover their true potential. In addition, the child also develops the main elements of character: freedom, concentration, independence, self-discipline, industry, sense of reality … in an atmosphere of full cooperation.


Other Considerations About Montessori Schools

The best time to start a child’s education is during the first years , from approximately 2, which is when most of the child’s intelligence and social characteristics are formed, since 50% of mental development occurs earlier of the 4 years. In a Montessori school, children learn to think in logical patterns and deal with reality, which is a good way to get them to face the complex challenges of the world successfully tomorrow.

This philosophy allows children to experience the thrill of learning by their own choices , as Montessori observed that it was easier for a child to learn a particular skill during the corresponding “sensitive period” than at any other time in life, a few periods. in which there is a tendency to show an intense fascination for a particular skill. In this sense, the Montessori philosophy allows children the freedom to select individual activities that correspond to their own periods of interest and rates of progress. A child who acquires basic reading and arithmetic skills in this natural way has the advantage of beginning education without drudgery, boredom, or discouragement.

In addition, the Montessori-based educational style has a multifaceted approach to reading and spelling , including the phonetic and vision approach as well as color-coding of materials, allowing children to move at their own pace. Command boxes and mobile grammar materials stimulate children’s interest and help them perform more difficult tasks.

On the other hand, Montessori’s concrete approach to mathematics allows a clear and simplified understanding of our number system . The materials isolate the difficulty and there is an error control, so that the child can carry out the work with minimal interference from the adult and receive, consequently, the satisfaction that personal fulfillment gives.


Maria Montessori’s important concept of freedom

The Montessori environment includes a good balance between structure and freedom , and it is seen in the wide variety of constructive paths that exist to choose from. Children acquire the skills and tools necessary to make their choices and are taught the social values that enable them to make these enlightened decisions. And it is that freedom does not imply being able to do what you want to do, but rather being able to distinguish what is constructive and beneficial and carry it out.

The habits and skills that a child develops in a Montessori class can last a lifetime, and this is how María Montessori argued when she affirmed that “education is a help for life”. And it is not for less, because the Montessori philosophy was based on the development of concentration, self-discipline, the love of learning and social skills, values that prepare anyone for different environments and situations that will end up presenting themselves on the path of life.

The classroom and Montessori education are a land full of opportunities for the child and a place to grow up independent and joyful. Something worthy of consideration and respect.

Actually, the Montessori method has a special emphasis on the preparation of the Montessori guide (educator), it is she who thinks about every detail in the organization and preparation of a Montessori classroom and in the day-to-day that the children will make their discoveries and girls, in the different areas of learning.

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