For Montessori elementary school teachers, they are not just a guide in the academic development of their students, their aim is to teach the whole child. This approach springs from the Montessori philosophy and method of education, which was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 20th century. Dr. Montessori created her approach through years of teaching and research, and it is further demonstrated in its century of successful practice in schools across the world and across diverse cultures. The Montessori philosophy holds that children are naturally curious and eager to learn, and can engage in self-directing learning given a supportive and intentionally prepared learning environment. Further, it champions respect for the child as a whole individual and support for their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development.
The prepared environment of the Montessori classroom is a space designed for children to move, be comfortable, have access to what they need no matter their physical strengths or challenges. The room is arranged so learning tools and classroom amenities are within reach and children are encouraged to sit, stand, spread out on the floor, or generally adopt whatever posture feels good for their bodies. This fosters bodily attunement while the curriculum engages them in physical activity and helps to develop coordination.
The social development of children in Montessori education is one of its most significant benefits. Teachers demonstrate kindness and respect and practice conflict resolution while children learn how to collaborate on their many group projects. The mixed-age groups of the primary, lower, and upper elementary programs fosters leadership and mentorship skills and builds dynamic relationships across a diverse classroom. Additionally, the focus on care for the environment – the classroom environment and the broader definition of the word – translates to an attitude of stewardship of communal spaces, both small and large.
Children in a Montessori Pre-school gain confidence and a sense of independence as they are encouraged to meet their own needs, as they gain competence in skills, and as they take charge of their own education and satisfy their curiosity. They also naturally develop self-esteem as each school day they are valued and treated as a unique individual, as well as greater emotional intelligence as they are immersed in the dynamic social relationships of the classroom.
The Montessori curriculum introduces children to a broad spectrum of educational topics: from astronomy and botany to writing and zoology. This educational range and the emphasis on self-directed learning encourages children to be active seekers of knowledge who practice self-correction and self-assessment as a means of gauging progress.The Montessori method of education seeks not only to teach, but to help children become engaged, responsible, respectful adults who think of themselves as lifelong learners.
Hill Point Montessori in West Hills, California offers 3 programs – Primary for Ages 3-6; Lower Elementary for Ages 6-9; and Upper Elementary for Ages 9-12. Montessori education groups students according to their abilities, unlike traditional education where students are grouped by age. This allows students to work together and collaborate throughout their learning journey as they guide each other.