Montessori is a different sort of private kindergarten, based on the observations and research of Maria Montessori in the early 1900s. It uses self-guided, self-correcting materials that children are able to manipulate physically. There are 5 core components to the Montessori Method, but it helps to understand their purposes if we break them down into 7 distinct areas.
- Montessori-Trained Teachers
Montessori private kindergarten teachers undergo specific training for the Montessori Method. They observe the children in their care, noting when one child may benefit from spending more time on a project or another is ready for new tasks.
- Authentic Montessori Materials
Because Montessori uses hands-on materials, they are typically crafted from wood because it is both inviting to the touch and able to stand up to the handling of young children. From the simplicity of the Pink Tower to the high-level arithmetic of Binomial Cubes, Montessori materials include an assortment of key developmental and academic skills.
- Movement and Choice
Montessori is a whole-child developmental system. In addition to the customary academic arts like reading and math, it is designed to encourage movement to build fine and gross motor skills. And to assist in developing critical thinking skills, children have choices and the responsibility of following through on their own decisions.
- Multi-Age Classrooms
Children will learn at their own pace, and multi-age classrooms allow them to do so without “falling behind.” Another advantage of the 3-year age group is that the younger children can learn from older ones, and every child enjoys a year of being the older kid themselves.
- Practical Life and Nature
Science and the natural world fascinate children, and Maria Montessori recognized that getting outside helped them develop mentally, physically, and emotionally. Similarly, performing real-world tasks help children build skills they can use throughout their lives, including organizational skills and learning household tasks like measuring, putting things away, and more.
- Extended Work Periods
Where traditional schools break the day down into short blocks of an hour or less, Montessori employs extended work periods and children remain in the same classroom. Among the advantages of longer work periods are things like reduced stress on the children and putting the time wasted in starting and stopping repeatedly to more productive use.
- Self-Reliance and Responsibility
Montessori works to produce responsible citizens. Children learn to make decisions, follow through on their projects, and accept responsibility for their choices. Where traditional schools rely on reward and punishment systems for social education, Montessori focuses on practical life and teaching the importance of diversity and empathy for others.
The 5 components of Montessori overlap in uncountable ways, forming a consistent and logical system that engages children, stimulate their minds, and helps them develop physical abilities. And to get a glimpse of the effectiveness of Montessori, one need only take a tour of their Montessori private kindergarten.