What is so special in Montessori Education?
As an educator or as a parent, you must have heard something about Montessori. But can you tell what is so special about Montessori Education? In this article you will learn the transformative education principles that enable child to become successful individual with wide opportunities in life. As many Montessori followers are saying: Once you enter Montessori, it is hard to imagine the other form of education that could better suit the needs of natural human development.
He has not been placed in the world in order to enjoy beautiful things. He has been placed here to make the world better. Man has intelligence because he has to make a better world than that which he has found.
-M.Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
Montessori believes that supporting children on a path to independence should be the main priority of the parent and educator. In order to fulfill this priority, we must first understand the child.
What Montessori can offer for child to become independent?
It is prepared environment and prepared adult. Sounds simple? How about that:
This environment is always structured and restructured according the child’s inner needs. The deep philosophy is enabling the adult to understand how the child’s brain works and how to maintain the environment for this young, passion learner.
And so we discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being. It is not acquired by listening to words, but in virtue of experiences in which the child acts on his environment. The teacher’s task is not to talk, but to prepare and arrange a series of motives for cultural activity in a special environment made for the child.
-M.Montessori, Absorbent Mind
The heart of the Montessori Children’s House is the indoor environment. It provides a lot of different activities. The child sized furniture, light enough so children could take those by themselves. There are lot of objects from natural products like china, wood, metal, brass. Variety of plants are arranged in the different parts of the room and we should have daily fresh flowers. The library corner is attractive and prepared with light chairs, story books, picture on the wall and references books for older children. The books are properly classified and orderly placed on the shelf.
The outdoor environment is essential part of Montessori preschool. Garden allows children to have close contact with plants and growing circle. We also have activities for: climbing, rolling prepared with natural materials.
The prepared environment fulfills the inner needs of a child.
The prepared adult.
We are not here to reward or punish the child. We are not here for being an obstacle for the child or for managing the child. The role of an adult consists of:
- Obtain knowledge of child’s developmental stages, understand sensitive periods of the child (those periods when the child is in need of a concrete activity in order to develop the skill that is required for particular moment)
- Observe the child
- Be a role-model for the child
- Creat and support the prepared environment
- Give freedom with limits for obtaining life experience
- Give time to finish the activity
We must, therefore, quit our roles as jailers and instead take care to prepare an environment in which we do as a little as possible to exhaust the child with our surveillance and instruction. However much the environment corresponds to the needs of the child, by so much will our roles as teachers be limited. We must, however, keep one idea clearly in mind – to give a child liberty is not to abandon him to himself or to neglect him. The help we give must not amount to a passive indifference to all the difficulties he will encounter; rather, we must support his development with prudent and affectionate care. Furthermore, even in the preparation of the child’s environment we are faced with a serious task, for in a sense we must create a new world – the world of childhood.
-M.Montessori, The Child in the Family
As adults we are significant part of child’s surrounding. Therefore, in order to care for your child, you must educate yourself as it would be with the newly purchased flower. You always get a note with your new flower how to care of it. But there is no note that you can have with your child, that is why it is only your desire, your responsibility to search for knowledge, for information.
Those who believe today that materials are the key to individual education often think that it is better to provide great quantities of materials without any system and without limit. This theorist can be compared to those in the past who thought that by eating without limitation one could achieve the best state of health. The parallel works perfectly because it deals with the questing of feeding, on one case the body, on the other, the mind.
-M.Montessori, The Child in the Family