The importance of early childhood education influences children’s lives beyond question. A good beginning is recognised as the foundation of future development. Scientific studies have proven that children’s learning and mental development begins immediately after birth, and then hits its peaks at the age of 6. It is of utmost importance to create a positive learning experience for the pre-schoolers to lay the foundation for their intellectual, social and emotional development.
The Montessori system is a unique schooling system invented in the early 1900 by Maria Montessori to educate poor children in Italy. This method discourages the traditional way of comparing measurements and achievements using grades and tests. Instead, Maria Montessori focuses on individual progress and development of each child.
Why Montessori learning is the only way to cater for these essential developments:
It encourages independence
All the activities in the Montessori environments encourage independence. It begins with the classroom being prepared to allow the child to do everything for herself but with adult assistance when it is needed. One will find a 3 year old child sweeping floor with a child size broom, or buttering sandwiches by herself with a real butter knife. These children grow in confidence when they are able to do everything themselves without having to ask adults for help.
The activities are also catered in the way that helps the child to identify mistakes without an adult pointing them out to them. However, children the in the Montessori classroom will ask for help when they feel they need it, as opposed to an adult telling the child whether or not they need help.
Social development and collaboration
In a Montessori classroom, children are grouped with children of different ages and are encouraged to help each other. This structure in the learning environment encourages children to share and to work co-operatively to explore different areas of the curriculum. Based on the nature of the classroom environment, children learn to respect each other, develop the skills of collaborative problem solving, and build a sense of community
Learning is actually fun
Children learn about Botany by looking at leaf samples, or learn the names of continents and countries by studying from a sand paper globe. Montessori provides tactile experiences for students to learn form, rather than having them sit in lectures or listen to teachers. Learning in Montessori environment is real and relevant.
Mathematics is exciting too: children in Montessori classrooms learn by using beads to help them connect abstract numbers to something concrete that they can actually feel and touch.
Follow the children
The Montessori classroom is a prepared learning environment where children are free to choose from a range of developmentally appropriate activities. Teachers in the Montessori classroom are there to guide and facilitate the learning experience. The teachers take the lead in the classroom, ensure the ground rules are followed, and encourage children to work independently and at their own pace. Allowing children to direct their own learning enables them to learn in an enjoyable way and develop an enthusiasm for learning, along with self-discipline, independence and positive self-esteem.
Psychologists in the US have expressed that because of the wide range of activities in the Montessori schools, children from these schools out-perform than those given traditional education.
Montessori education cultivates children’s natural desire to learn and achieve their full potential by providing them the foundation for future growth. Doctor Montessori’s understanding of how and why children learn allows the Montessori classroom to create an excellent foundation for children’s learning that opens the doors to education for life.