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Montessori - A Different Way of Learning
To enter a Montessori classroom is to enter a place where children can learn and grow in remarkable ways. Beginning with the unique "children's house" environment, the Montessori classroom is fundamentally different than a traditional one. What are some of the characteristics one will see?
Learning is individualized.
Each child proceeds at his or her own pace. This allows the students to delve deeply into areas and to have all the necessary time they need to master each concept and skill. The teachers serve to monitor each student's progress and to guide and instruct.
Sensorial, hands-on materials are used by the students for their lessons.
These materials not only meet the needs of all styles of learners but provide genuine insights into key language and math concepts. There is also continuity between the classrooms. As an example, a material used in the primary class will also be used to teach in the elementary class, but with added complexity.
The classrooms span multiple ages.
Divided into age groups that span several traditional grades, students in Montessori classrooms gain several key benefits from being part of the larger group. The youngest students in each class observe and are helped by the older students both in academic lessons and social skills. The middle group sees themselves as traversing towards the responsibility of the oldest group and also serve somewhat to help the younger students. Finally, students in the oldest group in each class assume leadership roles in classroom jobs and responsibilities and also serve as social and academic leaders.
Mastery and comprehension are emphasized.
Students are evaluated on their ability to master specific lessons instead of being given traditional exams. Mastering these lessons leads to deeper understanding in a subject area. For parents concerned with a standard measure of progress, the teachers can present correlations of the lessons to state curriculum frameworks.
Find Out More
The development of the Montessori method was a by-product of scientist Maria Montessori's research into the behavior of children. For more on her discoveries, please see Montessori Discoveries.
Also, to see how the Montessori approach is applied in curriculum at each age group, visit our Curriculum Page.