5 Things You Should Know About the Montessori MethodBy Beth McGee
As parents, it’s a question we all ask—how do I start off my child’s educational journey on the right foot? With a seemingly endless list of preschool options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, and recently, we’ve run into a lot of curiosity about the Montessori Method of learning.
On the quest for answers, we reached out to Dr. Regina Crone, a Montessori maven and the Founder/Head of School at Camden Hill, a Montessori school in Carrollton serving ages 6 weeks-6 years. As a mother herself, she understands the importance of finding an educational environment that engages little ones and instills in them a love for learning. And with her wisdom, we’ve rounded up 5 things that make a Montessori education unique.
1. It’s a child-centered educational approach.
Unlike other learning environments where the curriculum is uniform, the Montessori Method recognizes that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to learning. What resonates with one child might not click with another. At Camden Hill, “the child’s interests are always at the heart of learning, and their strengths are nurtured,” according to Dr. Crone. As a result, children set their own learning pace, instead of being rushed or detained by the instruction speed.
2. This isn’t your typical classroom setting.
A preschool classroom usually involves a flurry of activity, color, and play themes. But as Dr. Crone points out, “in a Montessori, the focus is on learning, not entertaining.” That means less crazy and more calm. Individual learning tasks are scattered throughout the classroom, which sparks the child’s natural curiosity through hands-on learning. Simple toys that allow a child to quickly recognize success or error, such as fitting shapes into holes or matching labels with pictures, characterize a Montessori classroom.
You’ll also find that classrooms include multiple age groups. For example, the Primary Student Program at Camden Hill blends together ages 3-6. While it seems like a broad span, Crone mentions “the inclusion of students of multiple ages in each classroom presents a wonderful opportunity for older students to mentor younger students, and for younger students to learn from them.”
3. Teachers facilitate understanding.
Montessori teachers come alongside students, helping to balance a child’s interests with learning goals. Teachers prompt students to catch their own errors based on feedback of materials, instead of immediately correcting. In lieu of controlling, the teacher “guides the learning process to prepare the child academically for the future,” says Crone. With this approach, teachers steer away from giving grades, and in its place focus on assessing the child’s mastery of a concept. As the American Montessori Society highlights, this teaching system allows teachers to provide more meaningful feedback to families during parent/teacher conferences.
4. STEM and Montessori are not mutually exclusive.
You don’t have to choose one or the other, because they complement each other. Dr. Crone shares, “students are captivated through the hands-on experiences that a STEM focus brings to the classroom.” At Camden Hill, they’ve adopted STEM+L (the “L” is for literacy,) in their early childhood program. Oftentimes, this looks like science experiments (which encourage Montessori values such as critical thinking and problem solving,) sprinkled with literacy questions, such as identifying the first letter of each material in the experiment.
5. It’s about instilling a love of learning.
You won’t find rote learning at a Montessori school. Dr. Crone describes the Montessori philosophy that “children are naturally interested in learning and therefore the classroom is set up in a way to spark their curiosity which leads to a love for learning.” By peaking a child’s interest, educators are able to make learning exciting and fun.
If Montessori sounds like it might be a good fit for your child, look into one of Camden Hill’s hands-on learning programs. The infant program begins at 6 weeks, and focuses not only on meeting daily needs, but also injecting learning into the early stages of development. The toddler program extends from 18 months to 3 years of age, and facilitates learning through all five senses. Serving children ages three to six, the Primary Student Program incorporates language arts, math, science, humanities, cultural studies and more.
The mission of Camden Hill Montessori School is to create a learning environment that will prepare children to reach their full potential through exploration and curiosity and with their imaginations.
Sponsored content provided by Camden Hill Montessori School.
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