Dr. Maria Montessori recognized a strong need for education reform in the early 1900's. Her beliefs and philosophy centered around teaching "the whole child" rather than simply focusing strictly on academics. Dr Montessori's teaching methodology focused on three main principles: "individual liberty, observation and preparation of the environment." These three principles drive Montessori teachers to: provide students with choices in their exploration of the curriculum; allow them to progress at their own pace; observe student learning and act as a facilitator in that learning; and design purposeful environments to further student learning. Many benefits result from the implementation of Dr. Montessori's three core principles.
Students are actively involved in the learning process.
Teachers provide carefully prepared environments where students can actively engage in exploration and use tools to seek the knowledge needed to answer the questions (many of which they develop).
Students are able to expand their minds and ways of thinking as they are exposed to various cultures. Hands-on problem solving tasks are a daily part of the prepared environments for students. Children explore often and enjoy working in groups, which often encourages creative collaboration.
Self-assessment and self-correction are a natural part of the curriculum.
As students grow and mature, they become reflective learners. They begin to look critically at their work. Students quickly begin to not only recognize their errors but also learn from them and correct them on their own.
Methodology calls for Individualized instruction for each student.
At a Montessori school, students have choice in activites and are allowed to progress and explore concepts at their own pace. By allowing students to work at their own rate, they are naturally encouraged to try more challenging content. Montessori is the direct opposite of a traditional classroom in which every child is given the same instruction at the same time. In such a classroom, there are always students who are bored because they already know the content and students who are struggling because they can't keep up with the instructional pace. Montessori teaching and learning allows each student to progress at their own rate.
With the core teaching and learning principles in place, students in Montessori schools get all these benefits and more and are able to reach their full potential. Montessori students will develop into caring citizens who can be strong leaders with creative problem solving skills!
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