The Montessori pedagogy was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori at the turn of the 20th century. Her philosophy and teaching methods were based on her scientific observations of children and how they developed.
Key tenets of the philosophy include:
Respect for the child
Teachers listen to each child and respect every child’s developmental level, ability, and right to make choices.
Freedom within limits
The Montessori Philosophy embraces freedom of movement with purpose, free access to activities, freedom to be creative, freedom to work as long as desired and as interest permits, freedom to work with or without others, and free use of the teacher as an aid to learning. Consistent reinforcement of basic ground rules of behavior also frees the child from testing social limits.
Respect for others
This component of the philosophy includes respecting the teachers, the rights of others, the work of others, and the care and respect of the environment and materials, which are shared equally by everyone in the classroom.
A child has an innate appreciation for beauty and nature. The classroom epitomizes beauty and appeals to the child’s interest with beautiful objects and learning materials.
The child is a spiritual embryo
This is not a religious aspect of the Montessori Philosophy, but it is a recognition of a human being’s essential nature. Children deserve to have their innocence guarded and appreciated. When the nature of the child is protected and guided, well-adjusted adults are the natural result.
The order of a Montessori classroom is most obvious at the visual level: There is a notable level of order to every material on every shelf. Consistency is another level of order that children greatly appreciate. This is why most Montessori schools require 5-day-a-week attendance. Two or three-day attendance does not appeal to children of this age because it creates an inconsistent routine. When children know that every weekday is a school day, they are freed from the upset the inconsistency can cause.
From birth to age six, children experience a “special sensibility” for learning or acquiring knowledge. When a child is not given the opportunity to act upon these natural directives, the opportunity for heightened learning is lost. Children in a Montessori classroom are able to capitalize on their sensitive periods. For example, if a child has a strong interest in language arts or math, he or she is able to focus more intensively in that area. In a Montessori classroom, age does not determine the work that a child does, as is the case in most preschool settings.
Children learn by moving, touching, feeling, and utilizing all of their senses. A Montessori classroom is prepared in such a way to allow for freedom of movement, and activities are designed to aid in the mastery of movement.
Multiculturalism and peace
Children are the leaders of tomorrow, and the understanding of other cultures is crucial to their education. Knowledge eradicates fear and misunderstanding, allowing for the world’s many cultures to peacefully coexist. Our goal is to educate children to become responsible global citizens. CRA is dedicated to inspiring a commitment to social justice through anti-bias and anti-racist education.