Key Points Of Montessori Preschool Education
When it comes to education, the first few years of the child’s life is very important as there is no other point in life where our brain is as influenced by its environment.
At this point in a child’s life, the brain absorbs all the stimuli around it and creates the structure of how it will learn and behave for the rest of its life.
After the age of five, our brains lose a lot of their plasticity and it, therefore, becomes a lot harder to influence the way a child learns. For this reason, when it comes to choosing a preschool for your child, it is clear to see why it is such a big decision.
As a parent, you want to place your child in a learning environment, which will nurture them to become passionate learners.
A Montessori preschool does just this and helps children to thrive. Below we will take a look at the key points that a Montessori preschool provides a child:
- The Classroom Environment
Montessori classrooms are child-friendly, ordered and welcoming. The design of the classroom takes the age of the children into consideration.
Furniture, fixtures and activity areas are all child-sized and can be easily reached and seen by young children.
The classroom will also include natural items such as animals and plants, which encourage children to appreciate the world in which they live. Nature also encourages children to explore their senses.
A key focus of the Montessori curriculum is hands-on learning and learning using concrete methods as opposed to abstract methods.
A teacher in a Montessori preschool will encourage children to concentrate on what they are doing and teach children not to disrupt one another.
- Guidance not direction from teachers
In a Montessori environment, teachers do not stand at the front of the classroom teaching.
The role of the teacher is not to provide children with information that needs to be digested; the teacher is there to guide the children as they take on their own learning journey.
The teacher is also there to provide learning opportunities that have been clearly thought out and that promote a child’s learning. The teacher then supports and guides this learning.
- Focus on the developmental stages
In a Montessori preschool, the curriculum focuses on the different developmental stages that children go through between the ages of three and five years old.
For example, for younger children, the focus is on gross motor and language skills. This then shifts towards fine motor skills and completing activities such as arts, crafts and cooking.
Older children are then encouraged to stretch their learning journey to include their local community by going on trips than taking part in particular events.
- Encourages self discipline and responsibility
In a Montessori environment, children discover their own road when it comes to learning.
This environment teaches a child about responsibility as they learn how to use their environment and time wisely.
Additionally, children learn to take responsibility for those that are younger than them who may be struggling with something that they have already mastered.
All children want to succeed. They also want to feel like they fit in. For this reason, a child soon becomes aware that they have a responsibility for their behaviour and learning and this then creates self-discipline.
- Includes children of all ages
Something that is unique to Montessori philosophy is mixing the age of children. We know too well that younger children learn by emulating older children and the Montessori way of learning uses this to its advantage.
Younger children will watch how older children interact with other children, activities and the teachers and then learn from this.
Older children also benefit from this environment as it enables them to develop skills related to empathy and leadership.
- Supportive parents
In a Montessori preschool, parents are seen as extremely important when it comes to their child’s learning, as Montessori teachers are all too aware of the importance of parental involvement when it comes to success.
For this reason, teachers create opportunities for parents, which encourage them to come into the preschool setting and interact and observe their child.
- Promotes independence
Traditionally we are taught to do something when we are told to do it. It is then believed that by doing this we will become adults who are effective and independent.
This, however, seems ridiculous as like everything in life we learn things in small steps.
In a Montessori preschool, children learn to self-direct and engage in those things that interest them.
They are encouraged to explore these things in their own time. It’s not uncommon for mistakes to occur but these mistakes help to foster independence, as children are able to learn from their mistakes in an environment, which is pretty much risk-free.
- An ordered environment
In a Montessori preschool, the teacher sets up a range of activities. The children can then independently choose which activity they wish to engage in.
Children are then given time to engage in their chosen activity and taught to put back any items that they have used in their correct place once finished.
The overall purpose of the Montessori method is to teach children to focus their attention and learn how to fulfil an activity with little input. The activities that are set up in a Montessori preschool cater to all learning styles.
For example, some activities will allow children to work on their own, others will encourage group work/ problem solving and some activities may be more hands-on.
All activities, however, provide children with an opportunity to learn, so regardless of which activity a child chooses, they will be learning.
- A respectful and stimulating environment
Children learn to respect their peers and their teachers in a Montessori preschool.
They come to realize that everyone works together and everyone supports one another.
Children are taught how to be empathetic and be respectful of each other. If an issue occurs children are encouraged to listen to each other and take time out in order to resolve conflict and come to a suitable solution.
In a stimulating environment like this, children grow not only academically, but emotionally as well.