THE MONTESSORI METHOD
The Montessori teaching method allows self-directed learning through hands-on manipulation. Children are encouraged to do and learn for themselves whenever possible, and can make choices in a variety of learning areas. This “freedom within limits” helps develop self-discipline, independence, a respect for others, and a love of learning.
This method was developed in Italy in the early 20th century by Dr. Maria Montessori. Montessori felt that children’s need for purposeful work is directed by the development of self — mentally, physically, and psychologically. Each child is free to choose work according to his or her abilities in an environment that is set up with concrete, hands-on materials, in areas of practical life, sensorial, math, language, science, and art.
The self-esteem that comes from success motivates children to want to learn more. The children are continually gathering information and processing it as they manipulate the materials in the classroom.
“In a Montessori setting, children are treated as individuals (who differ from each other and from adults) who possess an unusual capacity for absorbing knowledge from their environments.”
(Family Magazine: The Foundations at Richmond Montessori School)
OUR MONTESSORI CLASSROOM
Our classroom is arranged to encourage children to move freely and develop at their own pace and by making choices about the direction of their educational pursuits. The classroom acts as a small community in which the children are the “do-ers,” doing for themselves what they can. Because children become independent and gain self-esteem through repetition of their own work and the successes that come with figuring things out for oneself, adults in the classroom will only help a child if it is requested.
AREAS OF STUDY
- Practical Life
DISCIPLINE IN THE CLASSROOM
At Ashland Community Preschool, we use positive discipline techniques to encourage children to make appropriate choices. We tell children what is expected of them, and we use other children who are making appropriate choices as role models.
The class rules are posted in the classroom and the directress will review them with the children, along with consequences for not following the rules.
We also use a color-coded behavior chart in the classroom. While it is a break from true Montessori tradition, we find that this system helps our directress and working parents remain consistent and ensures that the rules are equally applied to every student. Exceptional behavior will allow a student to “move up to blue,” while inappropriate behaviors will cause a child to “move down to yellow.”
We do not use corporal punishment, isolation without adult supervision, or other negative methods of discipline.