Nurturing the Love of Learning: Montessori Education for the Preschool Years



as a parent I chose Montessori because I saw something happening in that classroom that was just magic children were working as if it were play and yet they knew it was work and I wanted that for my children one particular things that he's doing cursive writing and I've seen working and working and working on it at home he is happy about learning and that's what I really want for him to be happy about learning it's just a quiet self-confidence where she know she can do that she can put a coat on when she's three years old or you know draw some shapes or water the plants you know when when she was quite young she was doing all these different things well I think they're respected for who they are each individual little person and and I like that about it and I think that that has benefited each and every one of my four and I see them kind of blossoming in this environment it's delightful I would say go to a school and observe a Montessori School you will probably walk away like I didn't say this is wonderful this is what I want for my child it doesn't take long to realize a Montessori classroom is different from most other classrooms the children are actively engaged working independently a closer look reveals each child is involved in working with hands-on materials that stimulate all of his or her senses materials that communicate complex concepts in a concrete way like the materials get you interested in because you're doing something and not it doesn't make it seem like you're doing work and you can still have fun while you're learning when I learn to tie my shoes I mean I I liked it I was excited and I think it worked all the materials in a Montessori classroom are organized into one of five curriculum areas practical life sensorial language math and cultural Montessori materials are carefully equipped so that each activity has an orderly and logical process to follow this allows children to organize their thinking and problem-solving skills in a clear way and to absorb this knowledge through their senses small children have many life skills that they need to learn to achieve independence respecting a child's desire to be independent is a cornerstone of Montessori philosophy children develop a sense of pride when they're able to do things for themselves Maria Montessori was one of the first educators to recognize that children learn best when they're engaged in hands-on activities she believed that children need to move freely in their environment and to investigate whatever interests them for these reasons Montessori insisted that the classroom be beautiful through years of observation she was able to develop a curriculum that appealed to all of a child's senses young children have a natural ability to learn language skills that diminishes as they grow older emphasis is placed on learning the sounds each letter makes rather than the alphabet throughout the curriculum children are developing the small motor skills they will need to be a successful writer and the auditory and visual tracking skills necessary for learning to read objects and images are used to begin the association between beginning sounds and names the child learns that snake begins with a sound that horse begins with a sound or that dog begins with a sound and so on most adults who were taught in traditional educational settings are fascinated by the power of the Montessori math curriculum as the child becomes more comfortable with each material the concept of numbers becomes more and more abstract like the language curriculum when the abstract symbols of numbers are introduced the child has a deep understanding of what each symbol represents any child who has learned math in a Montessori classroom knows the difference between one thousand and one hundred because they have seen the difference and felt it in their hands many times they kind of cut it down to the real basics here help you understand what actually goes on as you become more familiar with Montessori materials you begin to see the elegant philosophy behind how each activity works to build the child's understanding of the world around her matching and tracing activities continue to build the child's ability to identify a name individual states countries within countenance and continents within a world map I liked how you could like move at your own pace instead of having to work in the same classroom with everyone at the same time each material provides the child with the potential to correct his or her own work making the process of learning and independent venture children often take advantage of their freedom to self-correct by experimenting with all the different ways to do a single activity satisfying their curiosity about what works and doesn't work and why unlike most schools children are allowed to continue with their work as long as they want to over a few days of observation we may notice a child repeating the same activity many times children decide for themselves what activity interests them and naturally repeat that activity until they are ready to move on children develop a readiness to grasp abstract concepts at different ages Montessori teachers follow the child's own sense of what they are ready to learn in their primary role as observers of the child's progress they present materials when the child is ready to take on new work through this freedom the child becomes more comfortable taking the time to contemplate all aspects of an activity the feel the visual appearance the sound of the materials even the smell this curiosity to explore the sensual world around them is part of what makes learning fun the children enjoy the process over the product part of becoming independent learners is taking responsibility for themselves and the classroom environment each child learns to take responsibility for their own belongings and to master the skills of taking care of him or herself children also feel secure in the knowledge that they can find the materials they wish to work with neatly stored in a particular spot in the classroom they are in turn responsible to put the materials back where they found them and to clean up after themselves we're taught at an early age in three to six that sharing and being carrying one another is the right thing to do to care about other people I'm Nicola Billy thinks if another child is using the materials a child is interested in he or she learns to wait patiently respecting the rights of others unlike most educational environments children are able to enjoy the learning process without competitive pressures each child begins at his or her own level and progresses at his or her own pace each member of the community is welcomed and shares in the responsibilities and pleasures of learning and there is this love of learning the children are turned on because they are successful they understand it they see it it makes sense it's beautiful and they want to do it and they're not doing it for anyone else other than themselves when maria montessori first sat down and envisioned this and it's coming about hopefully full circle especially now that it's in the public schools that it's good for everyone it's a way it's holistic its environmental it really hits everything that as human beings we would want our world to be sometimes I feel that my enthusiasm and respect for the Montessori method is a little unrealistic to some people but it's really simple the method works

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