It’s the most obvious question and the answer is actually very simple. The Montessori philosophy is based on children’s natural developmental needs.
Then it gets more complicated. Children need space and freedom to learn and grow. Montessori schools provide that space and freedom, but in a well-constructed environment that exposes children to different stimuli and materials that encourage them to develop academically, physically, psychologically and emotionally.
Learning is based on the child’s self-motivation to explore and grow, but it’s guided, subtly, by teachers.
There are four important elements to Montessori education:
- Most importantly, children are recognised as individuals. They learn differently to adults and they develop differently from all the children around them. This means that a generic approach just doesn’t work.
- Children’s brains are like sponges, absorbing everything in their environment and learning as they go. Their educational settings should be structured to maximise this process.
- Montessori classes are designed to facilitate the transition from unconscious to conscious learning, which is a very important step in early childhood development.
- Children love to work with purpose, as you’ll know if you’ve ever watched a child absorbed in a practical activity. The pleasure (and the learning) is all in the doing, which is why the Montessori Method provides activities and materials that will encourage children to develop cognitively, physically and emotionally.