THE MONTESSORI METHOD
The Montessori method of education began with Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician who specialized in psychology and anthropology.
She applied the keen observation skills of these disciplines to study children, coming to an understanding of how they develop and learn that continues to be validated by current scientific and neurological research.
A Montessori education capitalizes on children's developmental stages to help them learn in a natural and self-directed manner. Teachers work with students one-on-one and in small groups, providing individualized instruction tailored to each child's specific needs and learning style.
The Montessori approach puts children at the center of the learning process. In a traditional, lecture-and-textbook setting, the teacher is the focus of the class and is responsible for the child's actions (extrinsic motivation). With a Montessori education, the focus is on helping students develop self-discipline and the motivation and skills to learn for themselves.
Montessori education differs from a traditional approach in several important ways, such as:
- Subjects are integrated rather than isolated: Students look at subject matters from a variety of perspectives, fostering learning in multiple subject areas during a single course of study. For example, students may learn the mathematics behind the Roman arch as part of the study of the Roman Empire.
- The learning program is personalized: MMA students follow a rigorous Montessori curriculum that sets expectations far higher than the standard, state-approved curriculum. Multiple approaches to instruction cater to individual learning styles. Students work at their own pace ensuring that they meet these expectations.
- Social development is emphasized: A sense of responsibility to others is instilled in Montessori students from the beginning of their education. Students learn age-appropriate conflict resolution skills and how to work with others. Community service is a required part of the Elementary curriculum.
Understanding Montessori: A Guide for Parents
by Maren Schmidt & Dana Schmidt
In easy to understand language, this book provides an overview of the Montessori method, lessons and their purpose, as well as as how current scientific brain development research supports Montessori principles and their application.
Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius
by Angeline S. Lillard, PhD
In her book, Angeline Lillard shows that science has finally caught up with Maria Montessori: Current scientific research provides astounding support for her major insights. Lillard presents the research concerning eight insights that are foundational to Montessori education and describes how each of these insights is applied in the Montessori classroom. In reading this book, parents will develop a clear understanding of what happens in a Montessori classroom and, more important, why it happens and why it works.
by Trevor Eisler
Montessori Madness is a parent to parent discussion of the merits of a Montessori education. A must-read for parents of young children.