Montessori Method of Education
Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. In Montessori classrooms children make creative choices in their learning, while the classroom and the teacher offer age-appropriate activities to guide the process. Children work in groups and individually to discover and explore knowledge of the world and to develop their maximum potential. is a child-centred educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. Montessori classrooms are beautifully crafted environments designed to meet the needs of children in a specific age range.
Children are guided in their activities by Montessori-trained Adults. Instilling self-confidence and thereby building the child's self-esteem will be one of the main tasks of the Montessori-trained adult in a Montessori environment. the Montessori method is the only education method which addresses the issue of building self-confidence and self-esteem in a child. It has repeatedly been proved in studies that self-confidence should be instilled in a child early in life. Statistics and studies have established beyond doubt that individuals who began their learning years in a Montessori environment have fared much better in lives than children who underwent conventional education in their early years. In fact this is one major reason for the ever-growing popularity of the Montessori Methodology. Main thoughts of Montessori education:
- Children are to be respected as different from adults but as individuals. They are all not exact replicas but individually different..
- The children possess an unusual sensitivity and intellectual ability to absorb and learn from their environment. The child’s Will has to be different in order to achieve this. Their powers are unlike those of the adult both in quality and capacity.
- The most important years of a child's growth are the first six years of life when unconscious learning is gradually brought to the conscious level.
- The child has a deep love and need for purposeful work. He works, however, not as an adult for completion of a job, but the sake of performing the activity itself. It is this activity which enables him to accomplish his most important goal: the development of himself - his mental, physical, and psychological powers.
- Montessori philosophy is finally being used as originally intended, as a method of seeing children as they really are and of creating environments which foster the fulfilment of their highest potential - spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual - as members of a family, the world community and the Cosmos.
It is based on the child's developmental needs for freedom within limits, as well as, a carefully prepared environment which guarantees exposure to materials and experiences.
Montessori classrooms are beautifully crafted environments designed to meet the needs of children in a specific age range. Dr. Maria Montessori discovered that experiential learning in this type of classroom led to a deeper understanding of language, mathematics, science, music, social interactions and much more.
Every material in a Montessori classroom supports an aspect of child development, creating a match between the child’s natural interests and the available activities. Children can learn through their own experience and at their own pace. They can respond at any moment to the natural curiosities that exist in all humans and build a solid foundation for life-long learning.
- Provide a safe, engaging and nurturing environment for the child
- Promote trust in themselves and their world
- Develop confidence in their emerging abilities
- Develop gross motor coordination, fine motor skills, and language skills
- Offer opportunities to gain independence in daily tasks
- Foster the growth of functional independence, task persistence and self-regulation
- Promote social development through respectful, clear communication and safe, natural consequences
- Contain a large variety of materials for the refinement of sensory perception and the development of literacy and mathematical understanding
- Offer opportunities for imaginative exploration leading to confident, creative self-expression
Above all, Montessori classrooms at all levels nurture each child’s individual strengths and interests. Montessori education encourages children to explore their world, and to understand and respect the life forms, systems and forces of which it consists.
They contain many places for children to learn and play, in many different ways: by themselves, in pairs, in small groups, in large groups, inside, outside, at tables, on the floor. All items in the environment are scaled to the child’s size, including furniture, shelves, utensils, dish-ware, cleaning implements and the Montessori materials themselves. There is no focal centre to the classroom; this reflects that the teacher is not the focus of the children’s attention, but that they are all one community together. Bright and attractive colours, natural materials, fascinating cultural objects and interesting pictures on the wall all offer the children complex sensory and intellectual experiences. When children first enter a Montessori environment, there is an immediate and touching moment when they realize that this place is for them.
In Montessori classrooms, children are taught how to regulate their own social interactions. Through fun role-playing activities and appropriate modelling, the teacher demonstrates the best way to respond to arguments or new situations, giving the child the ability to act confidently and pro-socially when the actual problem arises. The result is a self-regulating classroom, in which natural social tensions are resolved mostly by the children themselves.
Children move freely throughout the environment, choosing activities that interest them, or working with the teacher, individually, or in small groups. Their movement is unrestricted by the teacher unless it endangers themselves, other people, or their surroundings. Outdoor environments are important in Montessori schools, and offer opportunities to engage with the natural world.
In Montessori schools( Houses of children), children are admitted at the age of two-and-a-half years. When they leave at the age of six, they have with them the basics of learning - knowledge of the world around them, the ability to write, the ability to read, and the ability to perform the four arithmetic operations (addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division).Several of the subjects like history, geography, sciences etc are introduced to them as items of human culture.
Worth much more than all these is the sense of self-worth and the self-esteem that they develop. Self-worth and self-esteem are what that makes a child happy. Sense of freedom and independence is a great advantage to life. Discipline becomes part of his life, self imposed.
it brings about development in every sense of the word - truly an enveloping development. There is development of the body - physical development - as the child performs that involve movements of the fingers and large movements of the body.
There is spiritual development as the child seeks for knowledge and is encouraged in this seeking - he develops the spirit of enquiry. There is intellectual development as the child gains the knowledge he has sought. There is linguistic development as the child speaks freely and listens. Thus he learns to express himself. There is emotional development as the child feels the fullness of positive emotions at work completed and ends achieved. There is social development as children show consideration for each other as they share the material. The child develops the ability to concentrate for longer and longer periods. Through it all, the child is growing as an individual, not as an insignificant member of a group.
The Montessori method develops his will, his intellect, and his motor control, separately and together.
The Montessori curriculum for ages 2 – 6 consists of eight subject areas for which developmentally appropriate materials have been specifically designed. Mastery of these eight areas provides a child with keys to later academic and social success. While there are innumerable subjects and materials that might have some “learning” value for the young child, it is these which allow the child to progress most rapidly because of their clarity, simplicity, flexibility, and ability to integrate a child’s experience. Each month our material centres on a particular theme.
The Montessori way of discipline is to encourage the child to be responsible in every way. If there is a small infraction of a rule this is usually overlooked by the directress and the child is encouraged in another direction and diverted to a more acceptable activity. If this does not work, and the child is infringing upon the liberty and freedom of others, he/she would be taken from the room and kept quietly until the angry mood has passed and he/she is willing to be cooperative again.
The Montessori Method of Education provides for many opportunities for movement around the room and for many, many choices. The child is allowed and encouraged to exercise his freedom of choice and to feel good about himself as the chooser. To be able to have a voice in determining how to meet one’s needs is very satisfying to the child and to the adult. After making his choice, he can then follow through and produce a favourable result. This increases the child’s self-confidence and his ability to concentrate, two of the most important factors in the learning process. All of this together creates a more willing, cooperative child of what Dr. Montessori termed a “normalised child”, one who is happy, independent, busy and self confident.
Each material isolates one quality, whether it be color, shape, texture, sound, size, taste, weight, or smell. With the help of the teacher the child learns to identify these qualities. As the child progresses in his ability to discriminate, the materials present more difficult choices until he is able to make fine discriminations and relate them to the details of his environment. The efficiency of these materials derives both from their design which is not merely child-scale, but geared to sensitive periods of learning, and from the structured lesson which aids the child’s concentration. A child becomes thoroughly engrossed with these materials, repeating an exercise over and over again until he is satisfied that he has mastered the work. The child may show no further interest in these materials at this age as the sensitive period wanes but, may be surprised and delighted when they merit re-exploration in the elementary curriculum, as solid geometry, for example. This conservation of a child’s experience allows him to probe deeper, and heightens his power of observation.
Practical Life exercises:
Independence is an obvious benefit of learning to dress yourself by buttoning, zipping, snapping or tying. Pride is also a factor in being able to say, “I can do it myself!” There is no satisfaction in being able to wash a dirty table, or shine a pair of shoes, or pour without spilling because the results are so visible and dramatic. But it is easy to overlook the “academic” benefits of these practical exercises. Task initiation, sequencing, sustained effort and concentration, and task completion learned this early become second nature to a child. The specific way of doing each task is not capricious, but strengthens the very muscles and develops the very eye-hand coordination that will be needed soon for writing. Socialization also progresses because through their own experience the children learn not only to respect the work and concentration of others, but also to help when asked. Care of the environment and care of one’s person remain part of the Montessori curriculum throughout the elementary years.
The freedom that children have to move about in a Montessori classroom is not extra-curricular. Self-motion is indispensable to self-initiated learning as well as to perception. It is through movement, as Montessori reminds us, “that the will realizes itself”. The child must be free to follow what interests him, but movement is also a subject to be learned. Carrying materials across a room full of children with work on the floor is not easy for adults. Walking a continuously curving line can be as difficult as a balance beam. A sense of one’s body in space is as important in the classroom as it is out on the playground. The benefits of a well-developed three-dimensional sense might show up later in a gym, on a dance floor, or playing field – but just as likely in a set of building blocks, in a drawing, or in more imaginative play.
The sensitive period for the learning of language is among the longest a young child experiences, and the Montessori curriculum capitalizes on it. Before a child comes to school, she has learned a language complete with vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, syntax, and nuances of intonation. At school the child completes this process by learning to speak in complete and more descriptive sentences. The vocabulary of the classroom is rich, including the proper names for solids, landforms, leaf shapes, or species that continue to elude many adults. Social grace and courtesy are taught as part of both language and practical life. Once the child has assimilated the letter forms and the sounds which they represent, the moveable alphabet sets the stage for reading and writing. These are not “taught” as much as they are “discovered” by the child who suddenly puts together the sensorial, motor, linguistic, and other skills, which he has learned, in indirect preparation for this moment. The very suddenness of it caused Montessori to liken it to an “explosion into reading.”
The introduction of geography begins sensorially with the differentiation of land and water on a tactile globe, then progresses to the discrimination of characteristic land and water forms, islands, bays, peninsulas, etc. Puzzle maps enable the children to identify continents, then countries. Eventually the children learn the flags, the capitols, and the cultures associated with those countries. The younger children particularly enjoy sorting out continent cards or pictures. These represent the flora and fauna, geographic features, and cultures associated with each continent. Awareness of the basic needs of people all over the world is introduced in this manner and leads directly to the Montessori elementary curriculum. The large number of our children and staff who have had direct experience of other continents and cultures greatly enhances what we are able to accomplish in this portion of the curriculum.
Perhaps it is because adults view this as the most “academic” part of the curriculum, that they are so surprised at how extensive the materials are for the young child. But, these, too, are rooted in the basic sensorial and practical life exercises that teach order, sequence, and discrimination. From there it is a relatively easy step into number concepts and their operations, geometric shapes and their properties, and the solution of problems through manipulation of concrete models. The difference is that mathematics is not taught as an abstraction. Thus the child who assembles a concrete expression of the binomial theorem, knows it operationally, and joyfully discovers it as an abstraction when he is old enough to think abstractly.
Music & Art:
Rather than being treated as “special subjects” set apart from the rest of the curriculum, music and art, are integrated throughout the Montessori curriculum. Discrimination of tones and colors, extended from the sensorial materials into exercises with bells, paints or colored papers. Control of scissors, brushes, or strikers also grows out of practical life exercises. Powers of observation, heightened in the study of natural forms for example, soon leads to more descriptive drawings. Songs learned as part of cultural studies develop pitch, rhythm, and auditory memory. Children are encouraged to think of the arts as a means for enhancing the exploration and expression of concepts associated with their work, rather than as a departure from it.
Science in the Montessori classroom allows the children to observe and work with hands-on experiments that will cultivate a lifelong interest in nature and discovering more about our unique world. Through the study of Botany, the children learn about plants (what they look like, how to take care of them, how they grow, etc.) so that they may appreciate nature in a more organic way. The study of Zoology shows children animals from all around the world (where they live, their unique Eco-systems, what they eat, how they grow, etc.)
Apart from the subjects we also offer the following activities for our Pre primary students.
- Audio Visual facilities: weekly movies and documentaries
- Arts and craft
- Outdoor games and sports
- Indoor games
- Board games
- Well equipped Montessori classroom
- Multi Play station & Sand Pit for Outdoor Play
- Indoor Play-room
- Healthy wholesome meals
- CCTV Cameras
- Fire Extinguishers
- Infirmary with a full time nurse
Our teachers are all trained in Montessori Method of Education at JJ School and are qualified in Early Childhood and Montessori Method of Education. This includes familiarisation with the Montessori materials and insights into handling young children sensitively. In line with the Montessori philosophy that each child is unique and therefore should be allowed to develop at his/her own pace, our Montessori trained teachers are dedicated towards developing the full potential of the child. The teachers are motivated to keep themselves updated on policies, content and skill enhancement by attending in-house trainings and workshops. Our teachers are trained in Jolly Phonics and refresher trainings are also provided regularly. We also conduct seminars, workshops, and training in different subjects from time to time to equip our teachers.
We do not conduct exams for students in pre primary section. We take quarterly assessments through games, worksheets, and activities and the progress is discussed with the parents in the PTM.