Benefits of a Montessori Environment

How does the Montessori method provide the most optimal environment for the development of the child?

• Montessori teachers are trained to have a clear understanding of attachment, exploration, self-help skills, empowerment, pro-social skills, problem solving skills, self-esteem, and resiliency.

• The Montessori method individualizes learning through children’s interactions with the materials as they proceed at their own rates of mastery.

• Individualized instruction provides opportunities for development of many skills, such as physical coordination, perception, attention, memory, language, logical thinking, and imagination.

• The multi-aged Montessori classroom (children are with their classmates and teacher for a three year span) provides a continuity of care, fostering attachments and promoting trust.

• Children learn virtue, empathy and kindness through social and emotional guidance during group meetings and through grace and courtesy lessons.

• Montessori materials are designed to foster concentration, coordination, independence, order, and a respect for all living things.

• Children in a Montessori environment are active learners and are productively engaged throughout their work time.

• Montessori lessons are designed to make the most of the critical early years for learning linguistically, cognitively, socially, emotionally, and physically.

Rethinking Your Space This Summer

Summer is here! During the break is the perfect time to rethink your space and offer more opportunities for your primary- and pre-primary-aged children to become self-sufficient. The Montessori Foundation has ideas that can be implemented throughout the house, giving children a sense of accomplishment in their care of self and their surroundings.

The Montessori “Solar System”

Have you ever wondered how Montessori theories translate to the classroom experience? This Montessori “Solar System” graphic, created by Mark Powell and shared by Trevor Eissler on the Montessori Madmen blog, gives a great overview of how Montessori principles work together in the day-to-day classroom.

The Planes of Development: Developing the Joy of Learning

Today, we complete our series on the Montessori Planes of Development with an overview of the importance of developing the joy of learning across each stage.

The responsibility of Montessori educators, as defined by Gretchen Hall, Director of Training at the Montessori Training Center of New England, in her 2011 article How Science Fits Into the Whole Montessori Curriculum (The NAMTA Journal, Vol. 36, No. 1, Winter 2011), is to help children follow their interests and inspire them to move forward. The key is to take Montessori’s theory and move it into 21st century norms. Although exploration and following the child is considered best practice, competition and acquisition of knowledge cannot be under-represented due to societal pressures.

Today knowledge can be acquired with the click of button – memorization is obsolete. The greater value is developing the joy of learning through the sense of wonder. Promoting an individual’s desire to learn, through fostering intrinsic motivation, unlocks the secret to self-learning. Knowing how to be a self-learner aids in the development of creative thinking skills necessary for future leaders. The focus should not be on the product but on the process – how a child obtains the answer is more important than the answer itself. The planes of development, as prescribed by Montessori’s method, provide clarity on the needs of the individual learner and encourage each learner to reach his or her full potential.

Other posts in this series:

The Third Plane of Development: How Can I Apply What I Know?

The Second Plane of Development: Why and How

The First Plane of Development: What

Education’s Death Valley

Creativity expert Ken Robinson is a world-renowned speaker, New York Times best-selling author, and a passionate advocate for rethinking education as we know it. In this TED Talk from April 2013, Robinson addresses how to navigate out of the “death valley” of the current education model, and how to encourage an environment of possibility.

Curiosity is the engine of achievement.
– Ken Robinson

Montessori Madmen

Trevor Eissler is a professional pilot, Montessori dad, and the author of Montessori Madness! A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education, as well as several books for children. He is part of a group of (mostly) fathers who call themselves the Montessori Madmen – advocates for Montessori education.

We’re an impatient, ragtag group of dads and advocates from around the world, united by a common zeal to bring the Montessori method to millions more. Our mission is simple: to advocate for Montessori education so that one day it’s not called Montessori school; it’s just called school.
– Montessori Madmen

Trevor and his team have put together a vast library of resources to help equip and inform parents, including articles, research, and videos. Explore the Montessori Madmen site to learn more.

The Third Plane of Development: How Can I Apply What I Know?

Today, we continue our series on the Montessori Planes of Development with a look at the third plane, spanning from age twelve to age fifteen – the middle school years.

As Gretchen Hall, Director of Training at the Montessori Training Center of New England, notes in her 2011 article How Science Fits Into the Whole Montessori Curriculum (The NAMTA Journal, Vol. 36, No. 1, Winter 2011), the third plane child (ages 12-15 years) is focused on society, as the adolescent is searching to find a place in the world. Hall explains that adolescents need to experience the world through work, through purposeful movements, and by using their hands.

Maria Montessori believed the concentration at this plane of development should be centered on economic pursuits so children are equipped to become productive members of society. Hall notes that this economic activity allows adolescents to gradually come to understand the role of work in the greater society. Work becomes an agent for the adolescent’s self-esteem; the objective is to contribute to the world in some meaningful way. By contributing to the community, they are fulfilling a need for themselves and for others.

Hall reports that Montessori saw the third plane as a time of rebirth and referred to adolescents as “social newborns,” and asserts that the questions of the adolescent go beyond the “what” of the very young child and the “why” of the elementary child: The adolescent asks, how I can apply what I know? How does this work relate to my life, my world? How can I save the world with my knowledge of the natural laws and the formulas I studied? Providing experiences such as internships allows opportunities to answer these reflective questions. Education focus during the third plane includes three categories: the opening up of ways of expression, fulfillment of fundamental needs, and the study of the earth and of living things.

Other posts in this series:

The Planes of Development: Developing the Joy of Learning

The Second Plane of Development: Why and How

The First Plane of Development: What

A Response to the Common Core Standards

The best schools are based on excellent classroom practices, have an established pedagogy, and focus on personalized teaching and learning. Montessori monitors the child’s progress throughout the year; it is not just about the end of the year assessment. Those opposed to the Common Core Standards refer to our children as the newest “guinea pigs” in education. In contrast, the first Montessori classroom was opened in 1907 and its philosophy has not changed. Currently there are over 30,000 Montessori school worldwide.

Diane Ravitch was the former Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander during the George W. Bush administration. She was responsible for the Office of Educational Research and Improvement in the U.S. Dept. of Education. She led the the federal effort to promote voluntary state and national academic standards. Read her thoughts on the Common Core Standards.

Terms You Need to Know as a Parent: Licensing

Today we’re continuing our series Terms You Need to Know as a Parent.

Terms You Need to Know as a Parent
Part 3: What is state licensing?

State licensing assures safety and sound administrative practices for the care and well-being of children under the age of 5. In the state of Georgia, facilities which operate more than four hours a day are required to be licensed. Programs that operate less than four hours a day for children under 5 and those serving children above the age of 5 must obtain an exemption approval from Bright From the Start Early Care and Learning.

Terms You Need to Know as a Parent – Part 1: Accreditation

Terms You Need to Know as a Parent – Part 2: Certification