What is Montessori?
In 1907 Maria Montessori, the first female physician in Italy, established an educational model based on her own scientific observations of how children learn. Her belief was that children could teach themselves and benefited from a natural learning process. The Montessori philosophy is an alternative to traditional education.
Guides (Teachers) are taught, in their Montessori training, how to respect the individuality of each child. They also are taught to celebrate individuality, details of human tendencies, the process of learning and how to create an optimum learning environment for children to learn. This consists of a prepared environment, well organized work areas, a three hour work cycle, teaching of grace and courtesy (character education), and multi age groupings of students.
Montessori is opposed to children rote memorization information for the right answer. The Montessori way does not require textbooks but uses very specific materials that are designed to intrigue and hold a child's attention. A teacher works individually or in small groups with students to provide them a lesson on specific materials and a child can return after the lesson to the materials when they choose.
The core subjects of Language, Math, Science and the Arts are interwoven in a multidisciplinary frame of learning. All of this exists in a very structured classroom environment. Maria Montessori believed " We should follow the child" , so the Park Road Montessori staff allows the child to take the lead in what they study, the time of day they complete their work and how a classroom should function. By allowing a child to take the lead, children learn at a young age how to make decisions and to follow through with these decisions.
President Woodrow Wilson's daughter, Thomas Edison and Helen Keller brought Maria Montessori to the United States in 1913. Albert Einstein was also a great supporter of Montessori and actually helped to bring her method to the United States in the early '50's. He said, "I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn." A true Maria Montessori thought. Come to Park Road and see the beautiful learning conditions we provide for children.
Is Montessori the best educational choice for your family?
Montessori education should not be chosen just because parents are seeking an alternative to the traditional classroom. Parents should choose Montessori because they believe in this approach. It is important that the Montessori approach fits your child’s needs, as well as your family’s values, beliefs and expectations about how you want your child to experience education.
Some questions to consider when deciding if Montessori is right for your family:
Am I as a parent ready to support a teacher and my child in a non-traditional approach to learning?
Is my child an independent worker?
Am I willing to be active in my child’s education?
Is my child able to accept responsibility?
Does my child follow directions?
Is my child able to focus on tasks for a period of time and not be occupied with things going on around him/her?
Do I encourage my child to make choices and to take responsibility at home?
Do I support the emphasis on cooperation rather than competition?
Do I support the Montessori belief in fostering children’s self-reliance, responsibility and independence?
Is my approach to discipline based upon natural and logical consequences rather than “rewards and punishments?”
Do I believe that my child would benefit from having the responsibility for choosing appropriate learning activities and materials?
Do I support the Montessori classroom organization that includes multi-age groupings (typically three “grades” of students)?
Am I prepared to learn more about Montessori principles at school and at home?
Do I believe in using anecdotal notes and Montessori checklists, rather than traditional, graded report cards?
If you answered “no” to some of the questions, it is recommended that you carefully consider Montessori. If it is not a good fit for your family, then your child may experience confusion and unhappiness if home and school are incongruent.
If you answered “yes” to the majority of the questions, your child may be a good candidate for Montessori. Your beliefs are similar to the underlying principles of Montessori education and your child is likely to be well suited to a Montessori setting.
We all want what is best for our children. There are many educational choices available – take the time to carefully investigate the options and honestly reflect on what is important to you, and then decide which approach is best for you and your family.
Park Road Montessori School Documents
The National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector is an independent nonprofit organization with the mission of helping public schools deliver high-quality, personalized education through Montessori and supporting the growth of public Montessori in the United States.
The American Montessori Society (AMS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the Montessori teaching approach in private and public schools and advocating for innovative, child-centered approach to learning through Montessori education. It provides school support and accreditation as well as teacher training.
The Association Montessori Internationale/USA (AMI/USA) is an affiliate of the American Montessori Internationale that was founded by Dr. Maria Montessori to ensure her philosophy and approach to education would be carried on after her death. The nonprofit organization focuses on bringing the principles of Dr. Maria Montessori to the education of children in order to help them attain their full potential in our society.