Why Montessori Method

Dr. Maria Montessori, born in 1870, was the first woman in Italy to receive a medical degree and has worked in the fields of psychiatry, education and anthropology. Dr. Maria Montessori gave the world a scientific method, practical and tested, for bringing forth the very best in young human beings. The Montessori Method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children. Dr. Montessori’s method has been time tested, with over 100 years of success in diverse cultures throughout the world. It is a view of the child as one who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. It is an approach that values development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive. The Montessori environment contains specially designed materials that invite children to engage in learning activities of their individual choice. Under the guidance of a trained Montessori educator, children in a Montessori classroom learn by making discoveries with the materials, cultivating concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning.

Research is very clear that young children learn by observing and manipulating their environment and not through textbooks/workbook exercises like traditional pre-schools use. According to some of America’s top experts on early childhood and elementary education “The Montessori approach” has been acclaimed as the most developmentally appropriate model currently available. The high level of academic achievement which is so common in schools that have adopted “Montessori Method” for early schooling is a natural outcome of the effectivity of the method itself. In fact, Montessori method has been instrumental in producing some of the brightest brains in contemporary world. The founders of Google - Larry Page and Sergey Brin have expressed that much of their success is because of their training in Montessori method during their formative years at pre-school. Sergey Brin and Larry Page specifically pointed to the “Montessori curriculum of Self-directed learning – where students follow their interests and decide for themselves what they want to learn”,as the main reason for their success. Also Amazon CEO - Jeff Bezos attributes all his success to the Montessori Method of training during his early years of schooling. Also Thomas Alva Edison, the inventor of Light Bulb, Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of Telephone also realised the effectivity of Montessori method of education and started many Montessori schools during their time. The list of beneficiaries of this unique methodology is huge and realising its potential, we at AV adopted “Montessori Method” of education in our Pre-Mont, M1, M2 & M3 classes.

Maria Montessori Classroom

In the “Maria Montessori” classroom, learning materials are arranged on low, open shelves. Children may choose whatever materials they would like to use and may work for as long as the material holds their interest. When they are finished with each material, they return it to the shelf from which it came. To grasp the essence of Montessori education, just step inside one of our Montessori classroom. Natural lighting, soft colours, and uncluttered spaces set the stage for activity that is focused and calm.You won’t find the customary rows of school desks in AV’s Montessori classrooms. Children work at low tables or on the floor, rolling out mats on which to work and define their work space. A hallmark of Montessori education is its hands-on approach to learning. Each material teaches a single skill or concept at a time—for example, the various “dressing frames” help toddlers learn to button, zip, and tie. As students progress, the teacher replaces some materials with others, ensuring that the level of challenge continues.

Some sample Montessori Materials

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Number Strip Board

The Montessori addition Strip board is one method used by students to assist them in learning basic addition, subtraction and other mathematical concepts.

Helps the child to practice fine motor skills. Practical life activities give the child an understanding of his/her environment and how it works. In addition, practical life activities also develop manual dexterity.

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Clipping Clothespins

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Geometry Cabinet

The cabinet contains all the regular plane figures and enables the child to classify every plane shape he sees in the environment. The cabinet has many mathematical purposes, which are 1) A visual and tactile study of the full classification of the regular plane shapes as a foundation for the later study of geometry, 2) To learn the words which will be needed and which will allow the child to express himself, 3) To make the child aware of shapes in the environment and to get him to observe the environment with intelligence, 4) Perfection of movement of the hand.

The metal insets are a pre-writing material. They are used to help a child learn how to grip and guide a pencil and eventually write letters. He will experience the effects of pressure on the pencil. There are a variety of movements involved in this work, which helps the child with control of the writing movements but also with changing directions.

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Metal Insets

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Movable Alphabet

Used to analyze phonetic words as preparation for reading, writing and spelling. When the child has learnt the phonetic sounds of the alphabet and knows the letters by sight and has listened for the sound in words when learning them, he is ready to build words with the large movable alphabets.

The Numbers and Counters is a beginning mathematical material. A child arranges the numerals in their correct order while putting the proper quantity with each. Once this is mastered, the more complex level of addition is introduced.

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Numbers and Counters

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Reading Material

The pink material is composed of a number of pink boxes, each containing attractive, small objects whose names are three-letter phonetic words, such as cat. Corresponding words are written on pink cards and kept in the boxes For most children, phonetic reading comes after some practice in word building. A variety of objects are prepared so that children get plenty of practice and their interest is kept alive by having new material with which to work. As the child’s reading level grows, green and blue material are introduced, which are composed of longer, more complex words.

To learn the sound and shape of the letters of the alphabet and to gain a muscular memory of the shape of the letters as a prelude to writing. The teaching of the sounds and letters is through a multisensory approach. The child will hear the sound, see its representation in the form of a letter, and feel the way it is written as the child feels the letter with his fingers. In the Montessori approach, the sounds of the letters are taught before the child is introduced to the names of the letters. Research has shown that it is best to learn one thing at a time. It is too much to have to remember both names and sounds. If the child is taught both the names and the sounds in the beginning, it has been found that the child gets confused when trying to sound out a word because it is difficult to remember which the letter represents. Therefore, to avoid the added difficulty, the phonetic sound of each letter is taught first, and the names of the letters are taught later. In addition, since some letters can represent more than one sound, the other sounds which are less frequently used than the phonetic sound are also taught later. In this way, the child only has to learn one sound for each letter in the beginning.

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Sandpaper Letters

The above list of Montessori materials is not a complete list by any stretch of imagination. If you are interested in knowing more about Montessori method and Montessori materials, you can visit our school and experience it first hand.

Montessori Method vs Conventional Pre-school Method
Montessori Method Conventional Pre-school Method
Students "work" at tables, group lessons on floor with freedom of movement Class seated at desks much of time
Children pursue their own self-paced curriculum, individually or in small groups, In various parts of environment Class, as a group, studies one subject at a time
Long blocks of time and relatively few interruptions permit invaluable concentration Class schedules and frequent interruptions limit child's involvement
Critical cognitive skills developed before age six Postponement go cognitive development until first grade
Children learn from peers, self- correcting materials; teacher’s role as a guide Teacher "corrects" pupils' "errors"
All children can learn. They are the same all over the world Children are different. Some can learn-others cannot
Implicit trust and respect for every child. No implicit trust and respect for every child
Child centred Teacher centred
Children learn through their own discovery and experience Teacher is transmitter of knowledge
Children correct themselves through control of error Answers are provided by teacher
Each child learns at his/her own pace Some are held back, some are pushed ahead
Low student to teacher ratios High student to teacher ratios
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