So often in education, educators jump from one trend to the next. Districts and schools spend thousands of dollars on a new math or reading program only to find two years later, there’s something better out there. Providing the “right” educational curriculum has become a constant challenge of “keeping up with the Jones’s”. Montessori schools use a philosophy and tools that have been around for over a century. Montessori schools don’t flip-flop between programs because they don’t need to. Montessori education proves to be effective regardless of whether it is in a private or public school, what country it is taught in or the socio economic status of the students. The philosophy that Dr. Maria Montessori developed many years ago still works for our kids today.
Everything about a Montessori classroom fosters independence. You start with a classroom that is prepared to allow the child to do for themselves what an adult would often do for a child. The furniture in a Montessori classroom is the appropriate size for the children who will use it. This is also true of the tools, utensils, and materials they will hold in their hands. Pictures hang on the wall at the level of the students’ eyes. The classroom is organized in such a way that the sequence of learning is materially present on the shelves and obvious to the children. The goals of independent decision-making and internal motivation are built into the carefully prepared environment. Students begin to realize that they have the intelligence and ability to do things for themselves. This is not only empowering to the child, but gives them such a boost in confidence.
Students don’t just “forget” information over the summer because the summer is too long. They forget information because it’s not meaningful to them. Often in math, students are expected to understand operations but never given the how or why. There are acronyms and tools to help kids memorize the steps without asking why these strategies are even necessary. Montessori allows children to understand the how and the why with materials. Students can actually see a division problem occur as he/she divides each place value. They also have the ability to practice it over and over with the materials until it makes sense to them.
One of the best benefits of Montessori is that it’s completely individualized. Parents never have to worry if their child is bored or frustrated to tears. He/she is getting what he/she needs, when he/she needs it. In order for a teacher to teach on an individual level, the teacher must observe, mentor, mold and guide the child to his/her potential. Montessori students have a confident and comfortable understanding of the academic concepts they will rely upon for the rest of their lives. They are academically strong not just for the short-term, but for a lifetime of learning. They also have a realistic understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, and talents. They can identify times and places when they should lead, as well as occasions when they should ask for help. Picking a school or method of education is one of the most important duties of a parent. Choosing the Montessori Method will not just prepare a child for the next grade level, but will also prepare him/her to be a global citizen. Dr. Maria Montessori developed her philosophy because she wanted better for the world and future generations. With a little research and a tour of The Montessori Academy, you’ll see why Montessori works.