The Montessori approach to education informs many schools’ educational systems across Europe, America, and Asia. The Montessori Method is a style of teaching where children learn through self-directed activities, using self-correcting materials. It characterizes a classroom set-up where children do not sit in desks but move freely within the classroom and engage in activities that excite them.
Many schools across the world have adopted the Montessori Method of education. The Global Indian International School in Tokyo is a good example of institutions that apply the Montessori approach. The institution has set up a Tokyo Montessori school for students from 2 to 15 years old. The Montessori Method gives students holistic learning that suits their needs. But where did this style of teaching originate?
Origin of Montessori Method
The Montessori style of teaching was founded by Maria Montessori, who was born in Italy in 1870. Being an excellent student in academics, she secured a slot at the University of Rome. Her strong performance in Math and Sciences allowed her to study Medicine. She became the first female doctor in Italy.
She was privileged to work in different positions, such as in hospitals, psychiatric clinics, and peadiatrics, which paved the way for her future. While working at the psychiatric clinic, she would visit Rome’s mental asylums. Those visits convinced her that the children who people thought to be mentally disabled could also learn.
Her appointment in 1898 as a co-director in the Orthophrenic School opened another door for her. She got the opportunity to study the learning behaviours of children with different mental deficiencies. Montessori would observe the children during the day and make notes at night. Through the observations, she developed hands-on materials, which have become the icons of her Montessori Method.
In 1907, she opened a Children’s House to provide a convenient environment for children who were considered unable to learn. Though hard at first, the children began showing interest in hands-on activities like cooking meals, working with puzzles, and cleaning their environment.
With time, the children developed deep concentration, calmness, peace, and order. Using her experience from teaching those children and through scientific observation, Mary Montessori developed unique learning activities and materials that up to date, inspires the desire to learn in children.
The Montessori Method
This is a style of teaching that concentrates on a child’s innate desire to learn. With this approach, children are presented with the materials and free space to learn flexibly and naturally at their own speed.
The method allows students from different grade levels to learn within a single space. The approach incorporates this integration feature and believes that children can quickly teach and learn from each other, just like adults teach them.
This approach to education satisfies the natural curiosity of children. It gives them room to experience the joy of realizing the world around them.
Principles of the Montessori Method of Education
- Movement improves thinking and learning. There is a close relation between activity and cognition.
- When children get the chance to be self-controlled, it improves their education.
- Children learn well when they have an interest in the things they are learning.
- When there are no surprises, children feel more secure and gain a sense of order.
- Teachers should not put children in group situations where others can see them as slow or fast until they improve at their own speed.
- Mature children are role models for the younger ones.
- The desire and interest to progress grow in children when they learn in a conducive environment by observing lessons from older children casually.
- Children who naturally obtain simple skills can begin their learning with enthusiasm.
The State of the Montessori Method Today
It is more than a century now since the humble beginning of the Montessori style. From a group of disadvantaged children in one classroom in Rome, Italy, the Montessori Method continues to spread and influence the education landscape across the world.
There are more than 5,000 such schools in the United States, while in Tokyo city alone, there are more than 15 Montessori schools. Almost all schools across Europe use this method of education. They strive to better equip learners at their early years of education to become better students. This is just a glimpse of how far the Montessori Method has been adopted by education systems worldwide.
Today, teachers utilize this style of learning to increase the attention span of children. When children learn without interruptions, they become orderly, self-controlled, and happy.
Despite it being a teaching style that originated more than 100 years ago, the Montessori Method of education stands the taste of time. Teachers all over the world have adopted the technique to make learning more meaningful and exciting for children. When children have the freedom, space, and materials to control their learning, it improves their performance and well-being.
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