The Montessori Method
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By Beverly S. Krueger
Dr. Maria Montessori developed what is now known as the Montessori method of education in the early twentieth century. Montessori believed that learning was a natural process directed by the individual learner. She stated that certain fundamental laws of nature could describe the process of learning that was the natural outflow of an environment ordered to allow children to follow their inclination to learn. When children were allowed to learn in a controlled environment, one that offered them the tools and resources to make the most of their innate desire to learn, they would proceed through a series of stages of mental growth. Through proper manipulation of the learning environment, children can progress through these stages and have a “normalized” development. Montessori’s theme then is to “control the environment, not the child.”
The Montessori method is an individualized approach that nevertheless places large groups of children together in an educationally enriched environment that allows the children to interact as they learn. Typically Montessori classes span several ages with older children acting as role models for the younger children in the group. Children learn at their own rate, and so within the span of ages each will find children at their same level.
The Montessori method offers children the best tools, resources, and guidance to assist them as they move from sensory learning to conceptual learning and on to discovering their role in society and their individual learning specialization. The four main developmental stages are divided into further, often overlapping age periods that focus on sensitive learning issues. For example, the time for refinement of motor skills is typically between 18 months and 4 years of age. During that time period, the educational environment would be enhanced with tools and resources that promote fine motor skills.
The Montessori method because it focuses on individual child led learning in a rich environment is ideal to use in the homeschool. Homeschoolers may not find it necessary to purchase all the materials commonly found in the Montessori classroom. For example homeschoolers can substitute for the $25 buckling, lacing, and buttoning frames. They may create a different environment from that of the Montessori classroom, but it will still be educationally rich.
For more information about Montessori and Montessori homeschooling visit one of the following sites:
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