- Every child is a unique person with creative potential, the drive to learn and the right to be treated with respect as an individual.
- As children are profoundly affected by society and their immediate surroundings, it is important to create an environment in harmony with the child’s natural development.
- Children must be given freedom to work and move around, within guidelines that enable them to see themselves as both independent and part of a group.
- Montessori materials help children to explore and master their environment through activities which aid the development of the whole personality.
- Children are encouraged to work at their own pace, either individually or in co-operation with others.
- Mixed age groups provide opportunities for the children to develop their social skills within a harmonious community
- Children are carefully observed on a regular basis, both individually and as a group, to assist their full development
Maria Montessori based her method on what she defined as sensitive periods.
Sensitive periods are windows of opportunities during which the child has special sensitivities that facilitate learning in specific areas. This aptitude for easy and spontaneous learning lasts for a short period of time and ceases when the skill has been acquired.
In a Montessori environment the “absorbent mind” of the child is nurtured by specially designed sensorial material. Its manipulation allows children to explore the environment through their five senses, to focus their attention and to develop their concentration.Individual work of concentration leads to social awareness. The child goes to others with peace
Maria Montessori emphasized “a new attitude of the educator.” The latter must reveal the hidden potential in each child and help them through their work. The educator only intervenes if necessary, after careful observation of the child and the environment. The educator presents the materials to each child individually and does not lecture.
– Mixed-age group (3-6 year olds together)
- It allows children to develop at their own pace, as there are three years in a learning cycle;
- It promotes the cooperation – the older children helping the younger ones spontaneously;• It avoids comparisons and competition as may occur when there are many children of the same age in the same classroom.
– Freedom and free choice of activities
(children choose their own material which they can manipulate as much as they want, as long as their work is ordered and they are concentrated).
– A full set of Montessori materials
– Long enough time for an individual activity
(about two hours and a half) to ensure that the work of a concentrated child is not interrupted)
– Respect of each other’s pace of learning and mutual respect:
the pace of each child is unique, what matters is concentration and best effort
– Absence of punishments and rewards evaluation of the child’s progress is done by means of an individual report, no comparison is made with other children)
– AMI-trained Montessori Educators
(recognized by the Association Montessori Internationale)