The primary goal of a Montessori program is to help each child reach their full potential in all areas of life. Montessori activities promote the development of social skills, emotional growth, and physical coordination, as well as cognitive preparation. This holistic curriculum, under the direction of a specially prepared teacher, allows the child to experience the joy of learning, time to enjoy thee process an ensure the development of self-esteem, and provides the experiences from which children create their knowledge.
In order for self-directed learning to take place, the whole learning environment-room, materials and social climate-must be supportive of the learner. In a prepared environment, the teacher provides necessary resources, including opportunities for children to function in a safe and positive climate. The teacher thus gains the children's trust, which enables them to try new things and build self-confidence.
The Montessori teacher acts as a facilitator of learning, fulfilling such functions as designer of the environment, resource person, role model, demonstrator, record-keeper, and meticulous observer of each child's behavior and growth. Teachers are Montessori certified by age groupings of 0-3 years, 3-6 years, 6-9 years, and 9-12 year olds.
The Absorbent Mind
There is a period of time in a young child's life that is perfect for learning. Between the ages of three and six children are capable of receiving information and acquiring skills effortlessly. The environment of the Montessori classroom is designed to help nurture the child's natural abilities and develop the true potential of the child.
Montessori classrooms were developed to give students the perfect space to discover, explore, and learn. Beauty and order are an essential part of the prepared environment that allows the child to thrive. The teacher's role is to guide the child toward independence and help develop concentration and organizational skills. Activities with Montessori materials called "works" help achieve these goals.
Students are allowed to pursue areas of their interest. The classroom boasts activities that include practical life, sensorial, language, math, geography, botany, art and science. Uninterrupted work time gives children the opportunity to focus and concentrate. The classroom calms as the students relax and work. Respect for the environment and classmates promotes self control and develops strong social and academic skills.
Montessori classrooms are typically organized in multi-age groupings. The multi-year span in each classroom provides a family-like grouping where learning can take place naturally. More experienced children share what they have learned while reinforcing their own learning; while younger children benefit from the exposure to new and more complex skills. The benefit of a multi-age classroom is that children learn from each other with ease. When one child learns a new skill such as tying his shoe the other children take notice. There is a sense of joy that catches on as the next child becomes ready to learn a new idea or skill.