Montessori elementary schools employ the Montessori Method of education, a play-based, self-directed, way to teach children. Authentic Montessori involves using educational tools that are fun and exciting to teach children important lessons and encourage more responsible behavior. Here are 5 ways Montessori schools are easy to recognize.
1. Childhood Independence
By the time a child enters Montessori elementary school, they have also begun to develop a sense of independence. Montessori encourages children to engage in self-directed work, a process that builds self-esteem and intrinsic motivation. This also makes it possible for children to work independently at a variety of workstations, in sharp contrast to traditional schools where all of the kids work on the same subjects at the same time.
2. Mixed-Age Classrooms
Maria Montessori recognized the developmental stages and individual progress of children was not locked to a specific age, but rather to a phase of development over several years. Mixed-age classrooms typically span a period of 3 years, and the benefits include things like the diversity of each child taking a turn at being among the youngest and oldest in the class. The underlying concept goes even further, allowing older, more experienced children to assist younger ones. This builds self-esteem and makes it possible for the role of instructors to be vastly different in the Montessori environment.
3. Trained and Dedicated Staff
Authentic Montessori schools employ staff that has been specially trained for the Montessori Method. Montessori puts more emphasis on observing the progress of children and providing encouraging guidance. Instead of lecturing to the entire class, Montessori instructors spend more time helping children who may need a little extra assistance and helping children maximize their own potential through self-directed activities.
4. Hands-On Activities
Hands-on activities are at the heart of Montessori education. Children engage in a variety of self-chosen activities that refine academic, social, and physical skills– often working on multiple facets of development in a single activity. And because they were able to choose their own tasks, children are more engaged in their work. Underneath all of the exciting activities, children learn everything from arithmetic to world history, including important life skills such as measuring, cutting and keeping the room organized.
5. Extended Work Periods
Another important facet of allowing children to learn at their own pace is making sure that they have ample time available. Montessori schools use a 3-hour work period, which helps children stay focused, reduces the time spent moving from class to class and gives children the time and incentive to do more.
It only takes one visit to an authentic Montessori elementary school to recognize how Montessori stands apart. Classrooms are quiet, yet bustling with activity. Generic rows of desks are replaced with tables, and everything is built around the perspective of children because they are the most important part of the Montessori Method.
The best way to learn more about the Montessori prepared environment is to see it in action. Schedule an appointment for a tour today to see Montessori in action.