Many families are very interested in a Montessori education for their children, but may not fully understand the underlying principles and practices that guide our school. How do we compare with a more traditional educational model? Is Montessori the best choice you can make for your child?
Current neurological research indicates that the first six years of life are the most critical in the development of the child and it is this critical developmental period that will have the greatest impact on your child’s sense of self and how they learn and interact with their peers.
In a Montessori school, we prepare the child for life by focusing on the tools they will need to reach their greatest potential. This means that in the middle of teaching reading and mathematics, we expand the subject area to give it broader context in their lives and community in order to help the child become a citizen of the world. We foster independent thought, awareness and respect for one another while valuing diversity.
The Montessori approach is used in both the private and public sector of education. Children go on to both private and public schools after graduating from Adams Montessori School
An Education for Life
The Montessori approach is designed to aid the child in his and her natural development. Our approach reflects a recognition of each child’s unique individuality regardless of the level of ability or social maturity. It fosters a child’s natural curiosity and instills a lifelong joy for learning. A Montessori school allows opportunities for both individual and collaborative work, demonstrating a deep respect for the learning styles of each child. In a Montessori classroom, children develop a sense of confidence and self-discipline while developing a deep respect and responsibility to their community. It is a place of learning and discovery as children use developmental learning (didactic) materials created by Dr. Montessori.
Who was Dr. Maria Montessori?
Born in Italy in 1870, Maria Montessori was the first female doctor in Italy at the turn of the 20th century. An early advocate for the rights of children and women, her approach to education was founded on the principles of biology, psychiatry and anthropology. She spent decades observing children of all races and cultures in many countries around the world and found that children went through different stages of development that were universal in nature. She introduced this method of education to the United States as early as 1912. Montessori’s theory of child development has influenced current educational practices. She is credited with the development of a child-centered approach, multi-age classroom, manipulative learning materials and individualized instruction. In recent years, scientific research has provided data supporting a Montessori based education. Dr. Montessori continued her observations of children and the implementation of her method throughout her life, widening and deepening her understanding until her death in 1952. Her legacy is preserved through the organization she founded, the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).
Dr. Montessori developed a philosophy of education in the tradition of other leading educational theorists, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, and Friedrich Froebel (developed the concept of kindergarten). They all emphasized the unique potential of the child.
Eight principles of Montessori education have been described by Angelina Stoll Lillard in her book, Montessori, The Science Behind the Genius, 2005.
- Movement and cognition are closely entwined, and movement can enhance thinking and learning.
- Learning and well-being are improved when people have a sense of control over their lives
- People learn better when they are interested in what they are learning.
- Tying extrinsic rewards to an activity, like money for reading or high grades for tests, negatively impacts motivation to engage in that activity when the reward is withdrawn.
- Collaborative arrangements can be very conducive to learning.
- Learning situated in meaningful contexts is often deeper and richer than learning in abstract contexts.
- Particular forms of adult interaction are associated with more optimal child outcomes.
- Order in the environment is beneficial to children.