Montessori Methodology

Although Maria Montessori discovered her wonderful principles hundred years ago, they are still valid and noble. Montessori pedagogy is an alternative form of education of a child. It is the first consistent attempt to educate children without obligation. The basis for Montessori’s deliberations and actions was a child and its development, according to which she wanted to organize child’s environment. For Maria Montessori every man was an individual human being with a strong need for the development, manifestation of which we can observe already in a small child. Children have an inner, inborn strength to develop, just as we can notice when a child learns walking alone and talking. Montessori spoke about the unique methods of teaching, the teacher's role and she created a unique set of teaching materials. With a different point of view to traditional pedagogy and with specific observation, Montessori looked at integrated education, discipline, development of speech, teaching reading and writing, mathematical concepts, education through labor.

Absorbent Mind

Maria Montessori claimed that there was a period in which the a child is able to acquire the knowledge from the surrounding world very quickly and efficiently. This state of mind was called absorbent mind. The absorbent mind is a period of development from birth till the age of six. Never again in our live, we are able to learn as easily and fruitfully as at that time.

Sensitive Periods

Maria Montessori created the term "sensitive periods" to describe the pattern how a child acquires knowledge from the environment. While watching the children, Montessori noticed that they were going through some certain phases in their lives, during which they were particularly interested in certain selected elements of the environment. Children are interested in them for a short time and then, they start to get interested in something else. It is therefore important to recognize a particular phase, which the child is going through and enable him/her to acquire the relevant skill. When the ability has been acquired by a child, the sensitive period for the acquisition expires,then phase for another skill appears.

Methods

  • Mixed age groups - Children of different age go together to one group. It helps in shaping social attitudes and children learn cooperating and helping each other. The mixed age group resembles a real social group, such as family because everyone is needed regardless of age and interests. Older children help the younger ones, they learn empathy. Younger children love imitating older ones and adapt quickly to the new environment.
  • Uninterrupted work period - According to Montessori, the day schedule should be planned in a way to provide children with at least one cycle of continuous work, appropriate to the age and level of children. For kindergarten it is 2.5 - 3 hours in the morning every day. The purpose of the long, uninterrupted work is to give children a chance to select an exercise that at a given stage of development it is most important to him or her. Enforced breaks disrupt the child's development and focusing.
  • Prepared environment - Every item is easy to reach for children and does not threaten their security. The rooms are properly arranged so that shelves and drawers are possible to be reached by children. Children develop their skills and self-reliance working on specially designed materials, arranged thematically. The child chooses what he or she works with and how long it takes to finish.
  • The role of the teacher - The teacher acts as a guide and support. She or he is always for the child so as to help him, observe him and try to follow him, shoving new ideas for exercises and action. In accordance with the principle of “help me do it myself”, we do not do the work for children. We do our best to support their activities so that they are convinced that they discover the world and gain experience by themselves.
  • Following a child - Education is understood as supporting the child. The essence of education is child's independence from adults, self-reliance and responsibility for himself and for the world. The task of the educator is to assist a child in reaching an aim by himself.
  • Individual approach - Every child is different and develops at their own pace. Therefore, in our kindergarten children work according to their own pace and capabilities, taking tasks, which they are ready to. They gain knowledge and practical skills through their own activity and with cooperation with teachers. The study is based on certain experiences of the child.
  • Respect for a child - Respect for the dignity and choices. It does not mean that children have unlimited freedom and are indisciplined all the time. Children have the right to choose the material, place of their work and the time which they need to finish it. Due to the freedom of choice, they develop an ability to make decisions, plans and organize the work.
  • Silence and focus - In the montessori kindergartens activity and dynamics of child’s work goes together with silence and concentration. Children have time for self- discovery. It is a place where childhood is the time of peaceful growth.
  • The principle of order - Children acquire the skill of keeping order in the environment and their action. They learn that every object has its own place and after finishing their work, they should put the item back on it;s place. A passion for order and harmony organizes thoughts and feelings of the child.
  • Acquiring social rules - gaining knowledge of social behavior:

- Do not hurt others (neither with word nor with deed)
- Do not destroy - respect objects in your environment
- Do not disturb - respect your work of your own and others
- Respect the rights of others