The latest in Montessori — Benefits of Montessori

RSS

QUESTION: Is every child a Montessori Child, what sort of children best suit Montessori Education? 0

Montessori education is most definitely for every child. Dr. Montessori felt that her greatest discovery was that children like to work as well as play. Children have a natural drive to work in order to develop. Children are not content unless they have an opportunity to learn.

Parents need to read and learn about the Montessori method and implement it in their homes so that when children are at a Montessori school it is an easy transition, also if you learn and understand the philosophy behind Montessori then you will understand that it is for every child.

In a Montessori classroom children learn from the very beginning that they have freedom with boundaries, so they are able to understand what is expected of them. A child starting a Montessori education at a very young age is able to learn this concept from the very beginning and develop his learning around this. A child who starts later can still learn, but needs to be shown for quite sometime how the class is run and how to be calm and quiet when doing an activity. They will learn this as they watch the other children around them and want to do the same. Also the teacher gives the children one on one lessons so they can learn the different materials and how to use them properly.

The classroom has many different activities so the child can choose which one they would like to work with. The room is set out in different sections; they are Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math’s, and Culture. Every child has the drive to learn so all the different activities will give them that chance. Therefore all children’s needs are catered for, one child may want to learn how to do up buttons, and another might want to learn the number rods, a child may want to go outside to plant seeds in the garden, another to do sandpaper letters.

The teacher in the room is a silent member, she is not standing out the front talking to children at a board, rather she is sitting with individual children on a mat or child sized table teaching them how to do an activity they have chosen. Every child is busy; their minds are focused on their activity and their desire to learn. If a child is not working well with an activity they place it back on the shelf and choose another one. This helps their independence to grow; every activity in the room is designed for the child to learn so nothing wastes their time.

The Montessori program teaches more than just the basics, it has exercises to develop the child’s basic capacities, his or her ability to control movement, to use senses, to think, to decide and to feel and have emotions. Because of this the child becomes a competent learner. It develops their independence and responsibility; it also helps the child develop a strong foundation in language and math’s, physical and cultural geography, zoology, botany, physical science, history and art. Children also learn practical life skills for everyday life such as cooking and sewing, how to dress themselves.

Most important they learn how to be a contributing member of a social community.

Children have an amazing mental concentration; we have all been told that children have a short attention span.  Dr. Montessori observed that very young children have a longer attention span if they work on tasks that interest them. A child on their own will practice things they are trying to master over and over again, they have a love of repetition.

Children love order, we normally think children are messy but Dr. Montessori found that children have a natural inclination for organization and orderliness. This natural inclination needs to be helped and developed by the parents and teachers. 

Children love to choose their own things they do. If a room is set out for the child they will choose, take and replace the activities without assistance from an adult.

Children prefer work to play, she also says there is no need for rewards and punishment, children are intrinsically motivated to work, what they do need is help. As the adult we show children how to do what he or she is trying to accomplish. Accomplishment, competence, and being a contributing member of a society is rewarding in themselves, this is reward enough.

Children love silence, we may think of children as being noisy, Montessori discovered that children enjoy finding out how quiet they can be. The children like to listen to silence and to soft sounds. It is a game to see if a child can move a chair without making a sound.

Children have a deep sense of dignity just as we have as adults. They want to be capable and held in high regard, they want to do things for themselves, they can get embarrassed and feel ashamed.

Maria Montessori learnt that children showed such an interest in reading and writing that she provided some beginning materials. She was astonished by how the children seemed to “burst spontaneously” into writing and then reading if provided with the right materials.

So as you can see all children suit the Montessori method, it is built on all children’s needs and learning, it helps them to become a productive member of society.

“The role of the adult is to respect what the child can do for himself.”

The reason we exist... 1

Welcome to I AM Montessori

 

Have you been searching the net trying to work out what Montessori is? How it benefits your child? Or even how you can implement the method into your own house?

 

Found it overwhelming?

 

There is a lot of information out there, different sites, differing opinions and ideas. It can become overwhelming. Instead of answering your questions, it may have you asking more and frustrating you when you cannot find the answer.

 

This happened to me.  I am a parent of a two year old who just over twelve months ago was handed a book by my next door neighbour – Montessori Madness.

 

This was my introduction to the amazingness of Montessori and after reading from cover to cover, it left me wanting more. Wanting this education for my son, for every child out there. I went home and I googled, and read thousands of different pages, blogs, forums, etc. and became increasingly aware I wasn’t the only parent feeling the way I was. Overwhelmed, confused, disappointed.

 

Disappointed that there wasn’t an easy way to get your head around Montessori. An easy way to give your child access to this incredible method of learning. I also learnt I wasn’t the only one frustrated with the contradicting opinions of vocal Montessorians, that these outspoken few were holding back a beautiful education method from becoming mainstream, by putting people in boxes and creating an ‘elitist’ mentality within the online community.

 

After looking at the options available around me it became evident there was a whole lot of people like me that weren’t having our questions answered. That were craving Montessori but were being left out in the dark. Nobody had made Montessori easy.

 

Noone was listening to the loud screams for help from us parents who wanted so badly to be given the information we needed to give our child the best start in life. And if they were listening, no one was doing anything about it.

 

So we did. We started I AM Montessori as a place for parents to be heard, for parents to learn all they need to know about Montessori and how it works, in a structure that doesn’t require a degree to decode the jargon and big words.

 

I AM Montessori was created to make Montessori easy for the rest of the world.

That is our goal, and we believe we have achieved this.

 

For an introductory price of $79 a year, you can access our incredible tool online and all in one place, as well as ask questions to qualified teachers, chat to other parents around the world and access free activities for your child from newborn to 6 years of age.

 

It’s a very small investment for a very large return – your child’s love for learning.

 

I AM Montessori ONLINE - coming soon!

Q; Bedroom & floor bed - until what age? Do you then transition into a toddler bed or regular size bed? 0

I am not certain there is one answer for this question.  When it comes to setting up your home, the traits of your family are unique from any other. Factors such as weather, safety, siblings, room sizes, the health of the child, diet, all would come into play when considering healthy sleep patterns.

Things you might consider when moving from a low bed to a toddler bed are suggested here only as a starting point:

  • Similar to a parent deciding to move a child from a cot to a toddler bed, are the child’s movements and emotional development in need of a higher bed? Safety must always come first
  • Has your child, having slept happily and moving to and fro from a low bed, ‘found the boundaries’ of his mattress and no longer moves from the mattress during their sleep?
  • Is your child at a physical stage of their development where the movement from the floor bed to the floor is not an appropriate physical challenge? Might his movement be clumsy and awkward and not support a refined movement more suitably found moving from a toddler bed?

 

Need help setting up your home? We run MONTESSORI AT HOME Consultations for $299 including $80 of materials! Book now at rebecca@iammontessori.com.au or call 0409 649 321!

Q: Where should I start?! I have an 8 month old and we're starting lessons shortly but I don't know what to do to get her started. I have some little sensory boxes but not sure what else to do! 0

The short answer is that you do not need to prepare you child for learning. A child is learning from before they are born. But, we can prepare an environment in which they learn optimally and happily. The materials that a child will find in a Montessori environment are presented in a carefully considered way, not only for the purpose of the material, but also for the needs of that particular child or group of children. If you were able to enroll your child into a Montessori program, I would avoid having the didactic (academic) materials they will experience in the classroom at home.

There is a joy lost if the child is not able to experience certain materials for the first time in their unique Montessori classroom environment. If you are not able to bring your child to Montessori, then by all means subscribe online and learn how to deliver the presentations for particular materials. However, practical life activities must be available to the child and these activities in the home will most certainly begin to allow your child to love their work and to develop their own “work cycle”. For example, by providing the materials to clean up after themself independently, your child is beginning to establish their own complete cycle of work, to have chosen, worked happily and concluded their work. Having a set place for things in your home and not changing this often will also aid your child in returning things to their place and feeling that same sense of completion.

The hidden joy of this process, knowing that they do not need an adult to begin or end their activity, is the possibility to repeat, repeat, repeat uninterrupted! Giving this gift to your child will set them up not just for their first school days, but also for life!

Q: Can Montessori help in any way when a child at the age of 2 is a late talker? If so, how? 0

The age at which children begin to form full sentences ranges greatly. My concern for a child’s language development would not be triggered at this age based only on a lack of a desire to talk. When children have the tools and a strong desire to communicate, then they will flourish! A Montessori approach to language development is measured and supportive of providing children with the right tools at the right time for their readiness. To support language development at the age of 2, there are a few things that you can do in your home.

  • Use enriched language, don’t simplify the environment or give nicknames to objects. Using the real words for objects, actions and needs and wants, means less confusion for the child when they wish to communicate to you and others in the greater environment. 
  • Play games with language. Everybody plays “I Spy”… to support language development appropriately, use the phonetic sounds of letters rather than the name of the letter. For example if you spy a ship, instead of “I spy with my little eye something beginning with S [pronounced ‘ess’], say “I spy with my little eye something beginning with Shhh].  Follow this later with ending sounds and the sounds in the middle!
  • Read, read, and read. Read in front of your children while they quietly watch you in awe of your interest in the activity! Read to your children together. Read street signs and instruction manuals aloud to your children, read the newspaper articles (age appropriate). 
  • Write in front of your child!! An art that is dying but that is essential to the development of language in the developing child’s brain.
  • Sing nursery rhymes together whenever you get a chance and show your child that you enjoy it! Make up songs together for things you do everyday. All these things are showing your child that there are many ways to express them self and they will find their voice eventually. 

An Introduction to Montessori 0

Your very young child has two very important jobs to carry out in the first years of their life. The first is to adapt to their environment, to the culture around them and to the language of that culture. The second is to construct for himself a role in that environment. To adopt the Montessori method is to provide for your child an ideal environment in which to go about these jobs, with love, respect and enthusiasm.  A lot of work is done in the first six years of life, rarely has this momentous achievement been given the respect and attention it deserves.  By opening your mind to Montessori, you are providing a strong foundation for a life long love of learning. Once the fire has been lit, the desire to explore can burn forever!

You are not alone in searching for an education that is more respectful and supportive of these formative years, as well as the years that follow.  Our society is furtively attempting to adapt traditional modern schooling with the current scientific knowledge of how children construct knowledge for themselves. The Montessori method has the answers to this dilemma, and we see these elements at play in a Montessori classroom. In choosing Montessori you are opening the doors for more children to benefit from a school system that works not just for your child, but also for future generations to come!

 

What the Montessori Method offers in the classroom setting:

The number of Montessori schools found in various countries make it the largest schooling system across the globe. There is a reason for its success globally, and that is that the core principals speak to basic human tendencies. These are traits that all walks of human life share, regardless of cultural and linguistic differences. Many Montessori classrooms will naturally attract a multicultural student cohort. 

The community of children in a Montessori classroom is one of a microcosm of the larger social scale. There is a range of ages, within planes of development, to provide challenge levels and peer tutoring.  You will witness a balance of genders and a high child to adult ratio. A Montessori environment does not revolve around the adult, rather the adult is a guide to the larger cohort of those doing the learning. Social and emotional learning is inseparable from the day to day of the child’s education.

The Montessori classroom is referred to as the prepared environment. This carefully thought out space provides freedoms for independent exploration and work for the children with age appropriate boundaries and explicit sensibility for safety. The core academic curriculum can be found on the shelves of the classroom all year around. Children are introduced to the materials by their teachers, usually in individual or small group lessons, and once introduced the child is welcome to work with and return to this material as often as is needed for their own discovery. The right amount of challenge is always gauged by the teacher to keep the child interested and the child is welcome to share their newfound knowledge with their peers by working with other children.

There is a clear sense of order for the child, and this is presented primarily in the 5 main areas of a Montessori classroom.  These areas are described as Practical Life, Culture, Sensorial, Number, and Language. Clear language is given for the areas of the classroom and for the names of the activities within the areas.  Using clear and enriched vocabulary consistently enables independence for the children to explore unhindered by the need to return to an adult for assistance. Despite the outward simplicity of this arrangement the opportunity for materials and the concepts to intertwine and support further exploration and concept is immeasurable and often quite spontaneous!

A Montessori environment respects that children learn from exploring with all the senses.  Not only does the method provide explicit materials to heighten these senses and assist the development of cognition for life, a Montessori prepared environment allows freedom of movement and encourages the use of the senses in all areas of the curriculum. The furniture, floor area, layout, materials, and the social development of grace and courtesy toward others, all cater to achieving this.

Key to the Montessori method is a friendliness with error. From materials on the shelves to the way in which activities are presented to the child by the teacher, there is a control of error that ultimately allows the child under six to work independently and be the judges of their own successes. When provided this friendliness with error, the child will happily repeat activities until the knowledge is created within the child. More importantly perhaps, the child will continue to work simply for the enjoyment of the new skill! As children mature in their abilities, the need for a control of error is reduced until the child becomes the creator of his own projects and activities. We see this in the primary school years.

You will also see adults in the environment who are guiding the children using specific tools. These tools include a thorough understanding of the development of children from birth through to adulthood, despite working with just one age range; a rich understanding of how to deliver lessons on the Montessori materials; an ability to observe the child and provide lessons just in time not just in case; compassion, respect, and an unshakeable belief in the natural development of the child. The adults in the environment are the role models for how we expect the children to look after themselves, to interact with others, and to care for the environment.

 

What the Montessori Method can offer in the home:

 I Am Montessori believes that the home is the child’s first classroom, and similar preparation is essential to providing the age appropriate exploration from birth.  Traits of the Montessori classroom can be applied to the home together with careful consideration for the abilities of all members of the family. Through careful planning of the environment and deliberate choice of the activities you place in the child’s environment, the joy felt by the child in their subsequent exploration and contribution to the family will support the development of your child for life.

 

If you would like help to prepare your home for your child, please call us on 3848 2391 to book an in home consult for only $299 (includes $80 voucher to spend online). 

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED: MY 6 YR OLD SON IS STARTING MONTESSORI - DO KIDS ADJUST OK AFTER BEING AT A PUBLIC SCHOOL FOR THE PAST YEAR? 0

Any Montessori program is ideally based on the observation of the child and their abilities, strengths and weaknesses, interests and drives. The teacher makes these observations and assessments before presenting a curriculum to the child. In a 6-9 program, a new child will be paired and grouped with children who provide a range of abilities to both support his exploration and provide a challenge level for them to attain.

Many Montessori programs at this age level will have regular consultations with each child to both get feedback from the child and work collaboratively to plan their projects. This process supports the nature of the children working independently at this level. If necessary, a child new to the Montessori method may be given lessons that are ideally provided between 3 – 6 years, but usually these materials may already be at hand in the 6 – 9 classroom and are not seen as remedial.

The amount of time spent on these materials will provide a suitable foundation for future exploration within the three-year period; your child will be free to accomplish his goals without the interruption of an end of year shift. As his guide at home, it would be ideal to become familiar with the way the 6 – 9 classroom works and ask the teacher for the language that is used in the classroom for such things as the materials, the ‘consultation process’ used in that classroom. Using similar language to that used at school will support a child new to the independent approach of Montessori.

 

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED: What is the difference between a Montessori preschool and a regular preschool? 1

In many ways, most modern kindergarten and preschool systems are founded on some similar principles to the Montessori approach to education.  Furniture that is appropriate to the sizes of different ages of children can be seen, there are areas of rooms allocated to different areas of learning.  Passionate, respectful adults are driven to work with children of this age and are found in many early childhood settings. These things are commonalities. Points of difference for a Montessori setting are also sometimes quite obvious:

  • The adult to child ratio may be lower in a Montessori setting. While there may be similar numbers of adults working in the environment to support safety and hygiene, they are not as obvious to the children and usually there is one main educator providing the presentations to the children. Contrary to some ideals, Montessori supports the independence that is fostered by a cohort of a larger group of children who are not ‘interrupted’ unnecessarily in their endeavours by adult guides.
  • The age range of children is ideally evenly spread across a sub-plane of development (3 – 6 years for example is a typically Junior School environment). Within this spread there is where possible an even spread of genders. Montessori encompasses multiculturalism and often attracts a diverse range of cultures in one classroom.
  • Children work with real tools and have a bountiful range of practical life and craft activities at hand from ages 3 – 6! There is in turn a limited amount of toy or pretend activities, as the children are so joyfully drawn to the rewarding activities at hand.  These activities become useful tools down the track for more academic achievements in the same environment.
  • The children are responsible for the care of the environment as much as the adults role modeling this. For this reason, materials are fixed in specific areas and on shelves and are rarely moved around or cluttered. Children are then able to make choices from the environment and return the items in their own time.
  • There are fewer larger group activities and more individual or small group activities.
  • Whilst lessons are planned and coordinated for the child by the teacher, when they are delivered occurs more spontaneously, based on the readiness of the child as observed by the teacher. This is opposed to a lesson being planned by the teacher for Thursday of a set week during the term and delivered to all children at that time.
  • The indoor and outdoor activities are often available at all times to the children. In this way, the child’s work is not interrupted by a sudden shift in the day, and they may move between the indoor and outdoors to suit the needs of their exploration. Always this is with respect for the materials and others in their shared space
  • Children are invited to snack, in appropriate spaces, when they need, rather than at set dining times.
  • Individual creativity is supported by the respect for the child who has found work. The Montessori environment assists children to recognise when a child is engaged and to keep from interrupting them. Children are in turn driven to share the joy of their explorations and peer learning is a natural consequence of this.
  • The curriculum in a Montessori system is comprehensive and far ranging, and while presenting individually to the child under six, is encouraging of the child to move about the spaces and incorporate experiences into themes and projects. 

If you have a question you would like answered, please email us at info@iammontessori.com.au 

The benefits of Montessori 0

Dr Maria Montessori placed great importance on the mental development in the early years of childhood.

When we are born, physically, our body only needs to be nourished to grow. However, the mind has to not only grow, but has to be constructed. It needs an environment that is conducive to mentally develop. 

Montessori education encompasses every area of life. The child must firstly become independent, able to look after themselves. We do this through practical life exercises, which are then followed by the cultural, social and moral aspects of life.

Dr Montessori refers to the mind as the “Absorbent Mind,” it can learn so much without effort or fatigue. Dr Montessori saw the mind of the child as being like a camera, they observe everything in the environment, then something happens in the dark room of the unconscious, and the perfect record is fixed forever. We as adults must help and not hinder this development. Dr Montessori believed that movement, manipulation and the isolated training of each sense develops the capacity for thought, and all her methods and materials exemplify this.

When referring to babies of 0-5 months, their environment is broken up into two parts, physical and psychological. The physical environment has four areas, feeding, sleeping, physical care and movement. Black and white, dark and light are initial contrasts that infants are attracted to. They love to watch a mobile of these tones moving in a breeze.

At around 6-8 weeks you can start to introduce colour. At 10-12 weeks mobiles that highlight more movement and that are varied in shapes and colours can be introduced. At around 3 months babies are reaching and using their hands as an extension of their arm. As the child develops we have activities that aid in their eye-hand co-ordination, placing objects in and out of closely fitting containers.

When a child is able to sit in a chair or stand at a shelf we can offer a new range of challenges. These challenges not only develop their eye-hand co-ordination, but also develop their visual discrimination and control of movement. After we present an activity to a child, we will say, “your turn.” If the child makes a mistake we never comment, we would just say, “I’ll have another turn,” or, “now it’s my turn again,” and will then present it correctly so they may see it again.

In Montessori education we are always careful not to criticise, as the child might lose interest in the activity or feel a sense of incapability. In this age group the children are learning to develop their pincer grip, they start with the palmer grasp and with different activities they develop their fine motor skills to be able to use a pincer grip. The children also learn at 5-12 months the cognitive development of object permanence, the knowledge that an object exists even when it is out of sight. These are also described as mathematical concepts. We use an activity to help with this called the Box with Automatically Returning Balls; this has varying levels of equipment for the children to learn with. Gross Motor development is of course paramount in a child’s early years, the vital importance of unrestricted movement cannot be over emphasised. A mirror that is large enough for the baby to see his body in, is an essential tool for the body development scheme and image.

As the children get older the materials need to correspond to their developmental needs. The materials need to have an intelligent purpose, they should be beautiful and incorporate different textures and substances such as wood, metal, glass and natural fibres.  The Montessori classroom consists of different sections of learning. They are sensorial, language, mathematics, culture and science.  There are many different activities that the children work on to help them learn and understand. The Montessori materials are designed for the children to be able to completely understand how to achieve a positive outcome. There are activities that prepare the child for writing and to gain control of the pencil, there are many extensions of this activity. The next is the sandpaper letters, these are introduced by a three period lesson. The child learns the sound and shape of the letters of the alphabet and will gain a muscular memory of the shape of the letters as a prelude to writing. There are many amazing activities for the children to learn language, they are beautiful which insures the children will love to work with them. They have an insatiable desire to learn to read. 

When learning mathematics we have a number rods activity where the children learn to count to ten and understand the value of each number. Next is the tactile numbers where they learn the numbers by feel. The number rods and numerals are then the next step, they associate numerals 1-10 with actual quantities. We have two aesthetically beautiful activities called the spindle box and the golden beads. These materials are so aesthetically and texturally interesting that the children love to hold and work with them, making learning enjoyable and exciting. 

As you can see Montessori is truly an amazing way to learn. Children are in a calm environment and become very involved in their activities and are intrinsically rewarded. This kind of learning aids children intellectually, physically and in their everyday life. Montessori helps children to always strive to be independent and will give them the best start to life.

 

If you have any questions, please email us at info@iammontessori.com.au or call us on 0409 649 321 and we can assist.