The Montessori Children's Garden is based on the principles of
Maria Montessori, an educator and physician. Dr. Montessori's
approach is designed to fit the child, rather than the child having
to conform to the program. She believed that learning should
take place in multi-age classrooms where children at various stages
of development benefit from each other. She developed the
idea of a "prepared environment," where the
classroom contains a wide variety of cognitive materials that
foster learning in numerous areas.
The purpose of the equipment is not just to impart knowledge to
children. Rather, it provides them with stimuli that captures
their attention and initiates a process of learning. The
prepared environment disposes children to develop patters of
concentration, perseverance, and confidence that will help them
become competent learners.
The Montessori teacher is a multifaceted resource person who
prepares this dynamic learning environment. The children do
the rest. They are free to move around the classroom,
choosing learning materials that interest them. The teacher
introduces learning materials and changes the environment
continually to meet the needs of the growing child.
Montessori activities encourage each child to reason, cooperate,
collaborate, negotiate, and understand.
Through this freedom and exposure to an enriched environment,
children develop at their own pace in a non-competitive atmosphere
according to each child's own capacities.
For more information on the Montessori Philosophy & Practice, click here.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Montessori Method
This is a method of individualized instruction stressing independent learning. It is an approach to education which develops a child's potential by means of a prepared environment, utilizing specially trained teachers and self-correcting materials.
This is a classroom that maintains a certain order in which a child can feel free to develop at their own speed, according to their own capacities, and in a non-competitive atmosphere. They learn to work by themselves; enjoying the presence of other children, but not always working directly with them.
A Montessori teacher teaches largely by directing. She/He may plan the classroom activities, prepare the environment, and be there to answer requests or fulfill apparent needs, but it is the self-motivation of the child which fires the impulse to learning.
When a child is absorbed in an activity, they begin to learn. The three year old learns with their hands, through manipulation and experimentation. Exposure to the great variety of classroom materials helps them sharpen their senses, and leads them to discover, step-by-step, fundamental concepts which prepares them for writing, reading, and the development of number concepts.
Dr. Montessori discovered that the ages of 2 1/2 to 4, particularly, are periods when children display amazing capabilities. These are the years when a child can more easily learn ideas, absorb impressions, and acquire skills than any other time in their growing period.
Learning goes beyond manipulation of specific equipment to learning through interaction with other children. Older children help younger ones; one child learns to do something by observing another child; several children cooperate to accomplish an involved task. When working alone, the child is very focused and often impervious to everything else going on in the classroom. Yet in the free follow of independent activity, the children develop both friendships and working relationships.
In the classroom, specially designed materials allow a child to correct their own errors as they learn. These range from practical life, with washing, buttoning and tying, to the intellectual areas of language, mathematics and reading. This is an "inner discipline," a personal control, which the child develops in him/herself.
Freedom is a goal, not a starting point. The Montessori method introduces children to the joy of learning at an early age, providing them with a framework of self-confidence and self-discipline. Thus, the child is free to do and see and learn for themselves, through their own senses and not through the eyes of an adult.
Ideally, a child will be happier if their parents and others at home reinforce the respect for their individuality that is present in Montessori classrooms. At this age, their intellectual and social progress should go hand-in-hand.
A child who has had a Montessori education is usually more advanced and well-adjusted when they enter the traditional classroom. As for their future, they have more than a good chance of becoming a happy, self-sufficient adult, with a lasting love of learning and a constant bent toward personal creativity.