These periods are “windows of opportunity” where children learn naturally and quickly without enormous effort. The Montessori educational method focuses on recognizing these opportunities and using them purposefully – to achieve a certain learning or development step. The Montessori teacher is trained in child development to connect the child to the right activity, in the right way, at the right time.
Individualized Learning Methods
Children make many choices about their daily activities and take responsibility for their own learning. They practice to correctly estimate their abilities, perseverance and self-discipline, setting of own goals, decision-making and ability to cooperate. The Montessori teacher is trained to work with a class full of individual children, who are developing at their own pace, and to identify challenges to overcome.
Children are the focus of the Montessori classroom. The teacher’s role is to observe and guide – paying attention to the children’s changing interests, developmental needs, and emotions. They allow the children to work independently and intervene as needed.
The Prepared Environment and Montessori Material
The prepared environment allows the child a freedom of movement, freedom to move and be active. A typical Montessori classroom has low open shelves, display of Montessori materials in progression order, defined curriculum areas and child-sized furniture. A Montessori material is designed for children to acquire talents and abilities independently – after an introduction by the teacher has been made.
In the Montessori Kindergarten, we have a 3-year mixed-age grouping. Children in this diverse grouping take advantage of the full curriculum – beginning as the “youngest” in the group and finishing as leaders in their class. The older children naturally become teachers to the younger children and they learn together in a strong social group.
When a child completes the 3-year cycle in Kindergarten, they can continue in a Montessori Primary school or in a 1st grade of local public school.