Dr. Maria Montessori the founder of the Montessori Method of Education did not franchise her work. This has caused much diversity in the Montessori programs offered all around North America and in the world. Montessori while rapidly expanding and successful is also sometimes watered down by blending it with other Early Childhood models of education.
Originally in the 1900’s the Montessori model became highly recognized for the success that children were having by following Dr. Montessori’s vision and interpretation.
So how does one determine whether a program is authentically Montessori, an adapted or compromised version of it?
The following are some of the characteristics of an authentic Montessori program and the qualities that can be observed:
- A deep level of respect for the individual child for their needs ie. Physical, emotional, cognitive
- A warm and supportive community of staff, children and parents
- Kindness, empathy, peace are fostered in the children and can be seen being practiced
- The environment is stimulating, simple and naturally beautiful with Montessori learning materials being the main focus (not toys)
- The environment is structured – unlike some conventional programs
- Children develop a very high level of independence
- Children can be observed focussing on activities with high levels of concentration
- Teacher / Child interactions are very positive and instigate the child to use their imagination and giving opportunity for higher levels of intellectual development ie. Children are shown not told what to do.
- Children are offered freedom to choose – to move, to pick activities that interest them. This lends itself to the child feeling empowered and motivated to want to learn; they develop a deep attraction to learning.
- Montessori children learn through special materials – these materials offer them concrete experiences and enhance their learning
- Children learn at their own pace
- Almost everyone is busy and yet there is a sense of calmness in the environment. Children are happy and satisfied.
- Children demonstrate self discipline ie. Teachers are not having to discipline the child. Those still going through this process are redirected very gently and with positive guidance
- Reading, writing and math skills are learnt at a very early age
Making a decision to find the right program for your little one can be quite challenging! It is important to spend some time at a centre and observe the classroom for at least an hour. This will offer you some insight into what you value most and which program will best suit your child.
Feel free to contact Montessori Learning Centre at 5873532888. Founder and Program Director Sherin Alibhai will be happy to assist and guide you with any questions you may have regarding Montessori and Early Childhood.