The Montessori Method is an approach to teaching that focuses more on the child and his or her cognitive abilities than on the teacher and his or her curriculum, as in traditional education systems. By using Montessori teaching, we help children achieve their potential by giving them the space to study independently and helpers who will guide them individually.
Children naturally tend to learn about the world through action. In the Montessori method, we use the age-appropriate sensitivity of children and their abilities. In their first period of life, up to six years, they absorb the world with their senses, developing their minds with what they take from the natural environment, human speech and culture. From the age of six, they start to build imagination and abstract thinking by expanding their world through acquired knowledge.
The place where children learn and develop must provide them with an opportunity to exercise their natural willingness to act. That’s why we give them toys and tools called Montessori Materials, which allow them both to explore the world and develop their cognitive abilities. Acting at their own pace, children develop self-confidence and self-discipline, without having to compete. By meeting with children of different ages, they get additional stimulation for emotional, social and intellectual development – on their terms.
The teacher in the Montessori Method faces a particular challenge. Its role is to observe, encourage and guide the child in a subtle way, in an individual relationship. He appears when he is needed, enough to help, but at the same time, he does not suppress the child’s desire to act.
Children learn with all their senses
Children learn by watching and listening
Children learn from Montessori Materials
Children learn from teachers
The children are moving towards more advanced issues according to their potential
Children learn at the pace set by the teacher for the whole group
Children spend a whole day actively learning the knowledge and skills they are interested in
Children spend most of the day on group activities, which do not necessarily suit them
Continuous three-hour cycles allow children to find time to focus on their interests
The division of time into hourly periods distracts children without letting them focus on one action
The Montessori theory that we use in our kindergarten is a human development model and a
matching educational approach. This model is based on two assumptions:
– Children and growing adults build their identity through interaction with their environment,
– Children, especially the youngest ones, under the age of six, have an innate path of development of their psyche.
We believe that if we give children the freedom to act in an environment compatible with the Montessori model, children will naturally optimally develop their human inclinations.
Among these inclinations we distinguish in particular:
– manipulation of the environment
These human inclinations drive every stage of development, and we try to answer them and facilitate their proper expression.
That’s why our kindergarten is an environment which:
– Gives children freedom of movement and activity
– Provides beauty, harmony, and orderliness,
– It is tailored to the needs and opportunities of children
– Restrict accessories only to those materials that support children’s development
– Enables contact with nature both inside and outside classrooms
Many parents ask themselves: why invest in Montessori? Why not send your child to an ordinary kindergarten, one which is attended by almost all other children, a kindergarten which may be cheaper and maybe is closer to you?
This is quite a good question, which does not have one right answer whatsoever. Parents are different, as are their children, and the beliefs, desires, and visions they have of their children are different too. In order to see value in Montessori, they must understand this method and recognize that it is worthy of their children at pre-school age.
At Montessori, we turn our backs on the myth of modern education with universal educational programs, standard tasks and objective tests designed to demonstrate a student’s understanding. The only thing this myth has brought is widespread ignorance – students at best learn to solve tests. That is not understanding. All you need to do is change the context, and the skills learned to like this cease to work.
In Montessori, we teach learning – learning to understand. In our kindergarten, children from an early age receive a sensual preparation for dealing with abstract concepts later on. Before comes the numerical order, children will learn about the differences in the size of objects by touching them. Before they start arithmetic actions, they will experience quantitative changes with their senses.
In this way, we create a tangible abstraction, ignored in normal education. We use the natural tendency of children to learn by acting in their environment, not by textbook exercises. With Montessori Materials, we leave a trace of this primary sensory experience of abstract operations in your child forever. Through the experience of the helpers, we point out for children the activities in a way that suits their development.
Many parents fear that their older children in the Montessori kindergarten will simply waste time looking after their younger children instead of doing their own. This is a misunderstanding resulting from thinking regarding the traditional education system. At Montessori, we hope that older children will be involved in younger children’s development, teaching them and correcting their mistakes.
It is through the teaching of others that children can get to know the limits of their knowledge – the process of education, explaining new ideas, helping others in exercises often allows the one who teaches to learn more than the one who is taught. Such a form of learning, impossible in traditional education, will enable us to develop children both intellectually and emotionally, in their attitude towards the younger and weaker.
Children transitioning from Montessori to a regular public school for the first few months will adapt to a new teacher, a new classroom, a new education system with entirely different expectations.
However, this will not be a big problem for them – what they have learned in the Montessori kindergarten is very well established, especially in the field of intuitive understanding of mathematics. After all, the usual curriculum is aimed at children from regular pre-school education, who have been much slower in developing intellectual independence. That is why our children, after internalizing their educational experience in early years, can shine in subsequent schools.
In Montessori education, when we talk about what is “normal”, we do not mean the ordinary, the average. For Maria Montessori, standardization does not mean shaping a child according to the requirements of the education system, but the contrary.
Normalization in our understanding is a unique process of child development. Having the right environment, with materials at the disposal of the children’s interest, it focuses on its work to finish it satisfied and relaxed. With time, thanks to such work, it gains self-discipline, inner peace, and sympathy for others.
Maria Montessori herself was comparing such learning with spiritual exercises, saying that the child finds in this way a path of self-improvement, ascending to the heights of its soul, developing creative energy and moral predisposition. Through normalization, the child thus acquires a tendency to order, a willingness to work, a capacity for concentration, respect for silence, independence, self-restraint, reticence, initiative, and independence.
The beginnings of all these, desirable qualities are already in your child – you only need to let them develop in a proper environment, such as the Montessori kindergarten.
The Montessori Kindergarten is the right environment for your child for the normalization process – but what does it mean? We believe that it is possible to design the space in such a way that it can be adjusted as much as possible to the child’s cognitive needs and interests.
In the Montessorian kindergarten, the clean, prepared space allows children to take care of their affairs at their own pace. At the same time, however, it is a space in where so many things are happening – children of all ages do different activities next to each other, depending on their level of development. When the younger ones make up the first letters, the older ones can already learn to multiply with special tools.
Sometimes, of course, the whole group works collectively when all the children sing, dance or tell their stories together.
In the prepared environment of our kindergarten we use unique toys and at the same time scientific aids – Montessori materials. They lie on shelves, within reach of children’s hands. Children reach for them according to their interest, and when they do not want them anymore, we make sure that they will return to the shelf from which they were taken.
Each of the Montessori materials is designed to isolate a certain concept or quality and then subject it to a child’s activity, in which without the participation of adults the child will understand what this is all about.
For example, a set of pink cubes can be used to build a tower, from the largest to the smallest. Since all the cubes differ only in size, they are of the same material and the same color, they show the child a concept of scale. There is no room to make a mistake when working with Montessori materials; the child corrects itself without being corrected by the teacher – thus gaining self-confidence.
At the later stages of development, children learn that different Montessori materials can enter into relationships with each other, and also discover new, previously unintelligible properties in the – blocks that prior depicted the concept of size can now show the concept of volume.