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What Is Montessori?             

Observations of a Montessori Classroom
 

Below are some points you would notice about a Montessori Classroom:  

  • There is a three year age span of children within the classroom. Older children model for and assist younger children, younger children observe, emulate, and turn to older ones, and the sense of community that develops helps build self esteem.
     
  • There are self-correcting materials within the environment. The materials are designed so that the children learn through their own errors to make the correct decision versus having the guide point it out to them.
     
  • Children are quiet by choice and out of respect for others within the environment. The Montessori classroom allows children to return to the "inner peace" that is a natural part of their personalities.
     
  • There is an emphasis on concrete learning and progresses to abstract thinking. Children need to experience concepts in concrete "hands on" ways so that they make their own leaps to abstraction.
     
  • The classroom is a child-centered environment. All the materials are easily within the child's reach, placed on shelves at their levels. The tables and chairs are small enough for the children to sit comfortably while the pictures and decorations are placed at the children's eye level.
     
  • The children work for the joy of working and the sense of discovery. They are "sponges" and delight in learning new tasks. Their interests lie in the process of the work itself rather than in the end product.
     
  • The environment provides a natural sense of discipline. The expectations of the community are developed through lessons in “grace and courtesy” which elevate the relationships and behaviors of the children. Boundaries and limits are clearly and firmly but gently and cheerfully laid out..
     
  • The environment is "prepared" for the children. Everything in the room has a specific place on the shelf. Children are orderly by nature and having the room set this way allows them to grow in a very positive way.
     
  • The guide plays a less obtrusive role in the classroom. The children are not taught by the guide, but rather inspired and stimulated by her presence and her presentations and, then, motivated by their own innate need for self-development.
     
  • The items found on the shelves in the classroom are "materials" rather than "toys." The children "work with the materials" rather than "play with the toys." Children gain the most benefit from the developmental environment, through independent activity and choice a sense of worth - the same sense of worth adults experience when they go to their jobs they love and do satisfying "work".


     
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