What is the difference between Montessori and Traditional Education?
Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning. Montessori classes place children in three-year age groups (3-6, 6-9, 9-12, and so on), forming communities in which the older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger ones.
If children work at their own pace, don't they fall behind?
Although students are free to work at their own pace, they’re not going it alone. The Montessori teacher closely observes each child and provides materials and activities that advance his learning by building on skills and knowledge already gained. This gentle guidance helps him master the challenge at hand—and protects him from moving on before he’s ready, which is what actually causes children to “fall behind.”
How can children learn if they're free to do whatever they want?
Dr. Montessori observed that children are more motivated to learn when working on something of their own choosing. A Montessori student may choose his focus of learning on any given day, but his decision is limited by the materials and activities—in each area of the curriculum—that his teacher has prepared and presented to him. This leads to students eventually setting their own learning goals and create personal work plans under their teacher’s guidance.
¿How does Montessori handles discipline?
A Montessori approach to discipline consists of a delicate balance between freedom and discipline. Like any part of Montessori education, it requires respect for the child.
In general, when we think of discipline, we view it as something imposed upon us by others. Our conception of discipline is not one of passive, adult-imposed obedience, but one of active, purposeful self-mastery. The Montessori meaning of discipline is not the kind of external discipline, that is something the teacher does to control or command the child, rather it is the child who internalizes the rules and feels that he/she is responsible for his/her acts. For Dr. Montessori, the definition of discipline is interchangeable for words like self-discipline, self-control, self-motivation, responsibility to the environment , self-initiated tasks and way to independence. All children have an inner discipline, which is developed by the freedom of the Montessori environment.
Why does a Montessori´s classroom has children of different ages mixed together?
This intentional practice is used so that children can learn from their peers, which also happens to be one of the most powerful ways that children learn. Once children have mastered a work, they can guide another child in the classroom. Grouping children of different ages encourages them to develop strong social and collaboration skills. In mixed age classrooms, the younger children learn from the older children, and the older children learn to serve as role models. Also it allows children to find peers that are working at their current level without having to skip a grade, or be held back, which could leave them feeling emotionally or developmentally out of place.
What about my child´s self esteem?
Self esteem is not a skill, but a characteristic, that needs stimulation to develop. Feeling good about oneself, isn’t that the most important ingredient for a happy and productive life? People who feel good and are proud of themselves achieve a lot! To name just a few related personal characteristics:
Montessori education has the development of a good self-esteem as a core aim. All other positive characteristics will follow. A child with a good self-image does not need competition to excel. They remain respectful of others, and at the same time exceed their own expectations!
¿How do I know Montessori is right for my child?
Montessori is suitable for all children. The materials offer opportunities to learn visually, aurally, kinaesthetically (through touch) and verbally, and thus easily accessible to children who learn in different ways. BUT…it is important to understand that Montessori is not for all families. If you handle your home as a place where your child can do what they like, eat what they want and go to bed as they wish, they may find the limits of the Montessori classroom too constraining. And if you are strict at home, and your child is used to cooperating via rewards, stickers and time outs, they could find it difficult to control themselves with the freedom in the Montessori classroom.
Montessori schools are most suited to children in families where there is respect for the child, the parent set few but clear limits, and the child learns to respect and follow these limits.
¿Will the guide give enough attention to my son? The role of the adult in Montessori is drastically different than that of a traditional teacher. The Montessori teacher is better understood as a guide who establishes, maintains and utilizes a prepared environment run on child (rather than adult) time. Her real job is to use her expertise to create, inspire and direct a learning community that meets the needs of the children. Highly trained, she follows a clearly articulated approach including nurturing a culture of work that takes into account the psychological characteristics of the children of the age group involved. Other adults in the environment share this deeply respectful approach to the children and aim to work as a team supporting the program.
Transition from Montessori to traditional schools: how will my child adjust?
While all children respond to transitions differently, the simple answer is that your child will do just fine. From the earliest ages, Montessori schools focus on helping children develop a high degree of self-motivation, coping skills for dealing with new situations, and a strong sense of respect and responsibility, all skills that will serve them well in a traditional school setting.
Most parents’ concerns are focused on two primary areas: academics and socialization. A few parents who have made the transition have said their child was bored at first, and ready to move onto the next concept before the rest of the class. They wonder why everyone in the class needs to do the same thing at the same time. But most have said their children adapted well to their new setting fairly quickly, making new friends, and succeeding within the definition of success understood in their new school.