Montessori elementary school uses a unique approach to education. Instead of focusing on class lectures and rote memorization, Montessori uses a hands-on, self-directed form of teaching that more closely resembles ancient teaching methods. Because it engages children on an individual basis, it is often more effective than traditional methods.
1. Montessori Trained Teachers
Montessori elementary school teachers undergo special training in how to employ the Montessori Method in the classroom. Rather than focusing their time on lecturing the entire class, Montessori instructors, often called guides, observe the children individually and help them develop in the manner best suited for the child. Montessori elementary schools understand that children do not all develop at the same rate or in the same ways, and the teacher plays a critical role in identifying the strengths and challenges of the children in her care.
2. Authentic Hands-On Materials
Montessori elementary school materials are carefully selected and are either made from wood or other sturdy materials that can withstand the rough treatment of children. They are designed to be self-correcting so that children can identify their own errors, and include an element of play because children learn more easily when they are engaged and interested in the lesson and how it is being delivered. In Montessori, hands-on, play-based activities are essential to successful learning.
3. Multi-Aged Classes
Because children do not develop at the same rate, Montessori elementary school uses a mixed-age classroom. This allows children who need more time to develop over the course of a specific developmental period. Additionally, the three-year age group helps older children develop leadership skills by assisting younger children before “graduating” into the next age group..
4. Extended Work Sessions
Another major difference found in Montessori elementary school is the extended work period. Maria Montessori recognized that by the time children had set up and gotten engaged in an activity, a traditional class length would be coming to an end, and developed longer class lengths and children remaining in a single classroom as a way to allow children to explore their activities in more depth.
5. Self-Directed Learning
In Montessori elementary school, children begin taking charge of their own education by using self-correcting materials, learning to follow educational “contracts,” and developing at their own pace. For newcomers to Montessori, this sounds like a chaotic classroom, but the opposite is usually the case, with children quietly pursuing their individual course objectives.
Montessori elementary school is a different kind of educational system, and the 5 core principles it uses are recognized as the foundation for the entire Montessori Method. Through these principles, children develop a wide range of social, academic, physical, and practical skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.