A Montessori Education
The Montessori method of education was founded in 1907 by Dr. Maria Montessori, who worked with young children in the slums of Rome and used scientific observations to determine the various ways in which children learn. Guided by her discovery that children learn best when allowed to teach themselves, she designed sets of self-correcting materials and engendered the concept of the “prepared environment” within which a child could choose to work with whatever materials interested him or her. Now, more than a century after Dr. Montessori opened her first “Children’s House” in Rome, Montessori schools all over the world still practice this method of education.
The Seven Areas of Learning Integrated In the Montessori Curriculum
- Sensorial exercises heighten the powers of observation, enrich descriptive vocabulary, teach classification, and help the children extend these skills into their world.
- Language focuses on verbal and written expression through description, story telling, and opinion exercises. Emphasis is placed on phonics (learning the sound of each letter) and the manual skills necessary for writing (which are often taught through non-language experiences).
- Mathematics work helps children associate written and verbal representations of numbers with quantities. Manipulative materials lay the foundation for basic arithmetic and promote an understanding of fractions and the decimal system.
- Practical Life focuses on everyday living skills. In addition to building self-confidence and competence, these works help to develop coordination, increase attention span, and build areas of sequence and logic.
- Science allows the children to explore the physical characteristics of plants, animals, and the natural environment around them. Simple experiments introduce the scientific method to the child.
- Geography and Cultural Studies encourages an understanding of the physical world through mapping exercises and investigation of natural land and water forms. This area also focuses on the cultures of the world, the differences and (especially) similarities of human beings living in different places.
- Music introduces the concepts of rhythm and melody. Children learn to recognize tone differences and enjoy experimenting with different musical instruments and their own voices and bodies.
- Art encourages an awareness of color, texture, and form. Self-expression and experimentation are stressed.