Last week, I carefully filled out the application and paid the $65 fee to register Daisy for the 2018-2019 school year at Fishtown Montessori School. I felt a thrill as I clicked “submit”, knowing that we have taken the first step as a family toward becoming part of a very special educational community.
I was fortunate enough to be Montessori-educated up until grade one, when I transferred to the high-performing public elementary school in the town I grew up in. My memories of Montessori are full of color, adventure, excitement and loving, encouraging teachers. As a family, we hope to incorporate as much of the Montessori method in our everyday life and parenting style as possible and plan to educate our children in Montessori schools when they are available for as long as we can.
For those unfamiliar, the Montessori method is named for its founder, Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori. Montessori opened her first school in a low-income area in Rome in 1907 and her unusual philosophy sparked a movement which is very much thriving around the world today. A bit more on the philosophy from the American Montessori Society website:
Components necessary for a program to be considered authentically Montessori include multiage groupings that foster peer learning, uninterrupted blocks of work time, and guided choice of work activity. In addition, a full complement of specially designed Montessori learning materials are meticulously arranged and available for use in an aesthetically pleasing environment.
The teacher, child, and environment create a learning triangle. The classroom is prepared by the teacher to encourage independence, freedom within limits, and a sense of order. The child, through individual choice, makes use of what the environment offers to develop himself, interacting with the teacher when support and/or guidance is needed.
Multiage groupings are a hallmark of the Montessori Method: younger children learn from older children; older children reinforce their learning by teaching concepts they have already mastered. This arrangement also mirrors the real world, where individuals work and socialize with people of all ages and dispositions.
Dr. Montessori observed that children experience sensitive periods, or windows of opportunity, as they grow. As their students develop, Montessori teachers match appropriate lessons and materials to these sensitive periods when learning is most naturally absorbed and internalized.
In early childhood, Montessori students learn through sensory-motor activities, working with materials that develop their cognitive powers through direct experience: seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching, and movement.
In the elementary years, the child continues to organize his thinking through work with the Montessori learning materials and an interdisciplinary curriculum as he passes from the concrete to the abstract. He begins the application of his knowledge to real-world experiences.
This organization of information—facts and figures—prepares the child for the world of adolescence, when thought and emotion evolve into understanding more abstract, universal concepts such as equity, freedom, and justice.
Even for those are unable to send your kids to a Montessori school (they can be expensive & not every neighborhood has one!), it IS possible to implement the principles of the Montessori Method at home. Reinforcing the Montessori Method at home helps kids grow and master self-discipline, builds confidence, inspires creativity through structure and encourages cooperative play outside the classroom.
Here are some resources I've been using to inspire DIY Montessori projects and to help us to organize our home in a more learning-friendly fashion.
Montessori for Infants
Adapting Montessori Principles to Work for Your Family
How to Get the Kids to Clean Up Without Asking
DIY Montessori Fine Motor Activities
Daily Montessori Activities
Finally, 19 Commandments from Maria Montessori to help you become the perfect parent. You're welcome ❤