Questions?

Discussion in 'Montessori' started by hawkeye, May 5, 2008.

  1. hawkeye

    hawkeye Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 5, 2008

    Hi This may have been covered and if it has Im sorry but What are the differences in a montersorri school vs. a tradiotnal preschool.
    I know they can only have natural toys, right etc?
     
  2.  
  3. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,291
    Likes Received:
    283

    May 7, 2008

    Child directed vs. teacher directed

    Here's a couple of links for you Hawkeye....

    http://www.montessori.edu/method.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montessori

    http://www.montessori.org/

    Basically, it is a theory that belives in kids learning through exploration...which is somewhat similiar as Piaget's theory of constructivism, but more specific.

    In otherwords, children learn thru play, but the teacher does come in and scaffold..or build upon the child's interest. In montessori, you are a faciliator..you step back and let the child explore.

    specifically, Montessori is noted for it's materials (certain blocks, toys, carpeting, etc.) that must be available in the class, and the children having the freedom to use them at will. Parents must participate in this program, or it won't work. Many public schools offer at least one grade level class in montessori. Parents usually must petition or request this class.

    Teachers must be official Montessori instructors.

    I don't care for it. It has postivie points, but I feel it has too much space, freedom, kids all over the room doing their own thing (well is it differeniated instruction before we knew it?) ...

    and yet...IMO I have yet to see it carried on past 4th grade...so what does a Montessori freshman do? It reminds me of High-Scope in preschool. Do high schoolers go around saying, "I chose to take apart a computer instead of cutting up a frog today?
     
  4. yorkyfan

    yorkyfan Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 7, 2008

    Here's some of my observations of the differences between a Montessori primary classroom and a traditional preschool (such as the one my daughter attended many years ago.)

    Children do work in the Mont. classroom, not play. There are no toys in the classroom such as building blocks, dolls, toy cars, etc. All the materials (as much as possible) are made of wood, fiber, metal. There is not much plastic. So the classroom will seem drab.

    The instruction of the children is done on an individual basis. There is virtually no group activity. And the instruction is highly scripted. Maria Montessori not only developed the classroom materials, she developed the method and order of presentation also. It is vital that the director or directress (not teacher!) adhere to this methodology.
    At my daughter's preschool, group activites were the norm and the teachers were free to use whatever method they thought would work to engage the children and get them learning!

    Children in a Mont. class are free to select materials from the shelves that they have had presentations on. They can work with these materials as long as they wish. They can go back to the materials as often as they wish. Children can also choose not to do anything at all! (which can be a problem!)
     
  5. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,291
    Likes Received:
    283

    May 7, 2008

    see! that is my point!!! The parents must agree that the child is creating their own destiny, and if they choose not to do the work, they choose a failing grade and the teacher is NOT responsible! No other curriculum encourages children to do nothing! In a traditional classroom, you can have active and passive times, but they still have soft pillows for relaxing or couches for sitting and books for reading. Then a teacher will have a transition to prompt a child to join some activity!

    So when the child leaves this program, you have a problem because they are accustomed to having their way...and at some point, laws-rules-common sense takes over, and they get po'd!

    I choose not follow the speed limit today.
    I choose not to pay my cable bill today.
    I choose not to go to work today. OH..doggone..forgot, they fired me! I choose to show up anyway just to tick them off!
     
  6. SarahJ

    SarahJ Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2007
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 8, 2008

    I have had a totally different experience in Montessori, since I grew up in a Montessori school and have worked in schools before.

    In a GOOD Montessori school children learn at an amazing rate. They are not allowed to do WHATever they want, WHENever they want to. Children are grouped in 'family' groupings not by age. So you get 3 - 6yr olds together, 6 9yr olds together etc. This is because not all children learn at the same rate and it allows children to learn leadership roles at a young age.

    Children are exposed to specific materials/equipment at different times. The teacher does not LECTURE information to the children, they are given situations and activities and the children participate in working it out with the teacher there to guide them and assist as needed. Once they understand how to use specific apparatus, they are free to use it. Children have to progress up through the apparatus and this is why everything is ordered in a specific manner on tables and shelves. For example, in reading you wouldn't allow your child to read book 6 if they have not yet mastered book 3. Once apparatus is mastered, they move on, but can always come back.

    Children are exposed to many different things and it is expected that the child will take form the material what he needs to take. For example, in Science, they will be doing a puzzle with parts of the flower labelled petal, stamen, stalk, pollen etc. A younger child might not pick up on all the parts of the flower as scientific but will notice the beauty of the puzzle and the way it fits together and subconciously they start to learn and the more they go back to re-do the puzzle, the more they learn.

    Contrary to popular belief, children do not run wild! There are rules and children tend to abide by them as they like the ordered environment where everything is in its place. After finishing an activity, the child is expected to clean up, put the activity back in the place it came from and move on to another activity.

    Children in Montessori do play. they play with REAL things. The reasoning behind this is why would your child want to pretend that they are washing clothes when you can prvide them with water and soap and a bucket and clothes and they can wash, rinse and hang out to dry. The school I was at even did baking with a REAL oven and we all learnt by doing things not pretending to do things. When we did baking, we learnt how the hot air in the over helps to make the cake rise because the water molecules heat up and become steam (links to evaporation) and they rise causing the cake to rise and so on... How could they learn that by pretending to bake a cake?

    Yes, Montessori does group work. The directress will pull out selected children at the same level and do an activity with them as a group. There are also class group activities where the whole class works on something same or similar. There are the typical activities such as a morning greeting and such like in a Montessori class.

    The work period is usually a fairly long time. Many parents feel that their child cannt concentrate for this long but you would be surprised! When the child is totally engrossed in something wonderful that he is learning they stay focused for AGES. And they are not restricted to one activity. They work on all their activities at their own pace - so one child might take 5 minutes, another 15 minutes or one child wants to do it 3 times in a row so spends half an hour doing it.

    Children are required to participate. If they are not doing an activity the teacher will have to figure out why - are they bored, do they need something more challenging, are they ill, something wrong at home etc. Perhaps they didn't sleep well in which case the teacher will ensure they snuggle in the book corner and perhaps have a nap, otherwise she can introduce a new activity sure to get his interest.

    A Montessori classroom is anything BUT drab! There are bright paintings on the walls and not just childrens art, but also prints of great artists - children LOVE these, I know! There are flowers and pretty vases. the children are also responsible for keeping the classroom pretty so they pick and arrange flowers and keep plants waterered etc

    The materials used are mostly natural as they are pleasant to touch and last MUCH longer. Even in pre-school classes, children are exposed to glass pouring jugs and bowls. Plastic is used, but in moderation and usually good quality plastic, not the stuff that cracks and chips easily. Wood is common as many of the materials are made from wood - again, this is because wood is hard wearing - and it used to be cheap and readily available.

    Many people do not know that Montessori was developed in the slums in Italy. It was designed to teach large (over 40) groups of children at one time whilst still giving the teacher a chance to reach each child individually. It was also designed for children with additional learning needs who would otherwise not respond in a classroom where they are expected to learn through listening or expected to keep up with the class group.

    Because the children in the first Casa de Bambini (childrens house) were poor, Maria Montessori had to find a way to teach these children without needing large amounts of money and knwoing that the chiildren came from deprived backgrouns and possibly also from a background where dirt and mess was common. The school taught them to look after their things and to keep things beautiful and neat, and this environment facilitated learning.

    Children were allowed to play, but Maria Montessori soon learned that they were preferring to work with the materials and this became their play. Children DO play in Montessori. There is dedicated outside and inside play-time. There is also outside work time where children can work with outside equipment - perhaps tending to their vegetable garden.

    BUT, this is in a good Montessori school where the teachers are trained and experienced and they have access to materials.
     
  7. SarahJ

    SarahJ Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2007
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 8, 2008

    Senior children in Montessori do have lessons as a group - they are taught the materials with lots of group discussion, but they are also expected to research and find more information. It works well in highschool as children are able to go ahead in one area (perhaps 2 or 3 or more grades ahead)but get extra help in an area that they are battling in. there are specialist teachers for different subjects in the higher grades.

    And again, they don't just choose whatever they want. they are expected to 'work' at school just like any other schooland if they don't there are consequences BUT the teacher still tries to solve the problem in class (ie boredom) if if not the parents are called in for a chat - just like normal school!

    In a normal pre-school a miserable child will be comforted and allwed to relax in the reading corner if very tired, same in Montessori but if they are totally refusing then yes, consequences such as loosing a priviledge or speaking to mum etc occur.

    I have worked with children transitioning into 'normal' schools and the only problem I have ever come across is when the child knows more than a teacher about something and the teacher refuses to acknowledge it or refuses to allow a very bright student to go to a higher grade for a science lesson etc when the ability is clearly there and the swop was agreed to. (obviously not on a whim! has to be discussed with the school beforehand!)
     
  8. yorkyfan

    yorkyfan Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 8, 2008

    My teachers are all AMI trained. As for work versus play, when I started as an assistant, I was reminded over and over again not to use the word play in the classroom setting. And the children are not free to use the materials anyway they like.

    For example, solid cylinder work: This "work" involves the children fitting a series of solid wooden knobbed cylinders into the correct hole. But we have one small boy who likes to pretend that the knobbed cylinders are little sailing boats that are "floating" across the table. So he pushes the cylinders around on the table or he puts them on their sides and rolls them under his hand, pretending that they are wheels on a car. The director of the classroom discourages this "play" with the knobbed cylinders. If he continues to play, the boy is asked to put the materials away and try something else. In my daughters preschool, that kind of play would be encouraged!!!

    My classroom is drab compared to a traditional preschool because it does not have brightly colored plastic toys on the shelves. There are prints of classic art on the walls. The prints are beautiful but are muted compared to the primary color scheme in a more traditional classroom. Also, in my daughter's preschool, the children's artwork was displayed everywhere. In the mont. classroom, children's artwork is rarely displayed.

    I did not say that the children were free to be wild. They aren't. But they can choose not to work with the materials and, unfortunately, some do make that choice on a daily basis.

    I still assert that, compared to a traditional preschool, group activites are rare. In my daughter's preschool, if the teacher decided to do a seed painting that day, everyone did it at the same time. To be sure, my daughter's teacher would work with kids on an individual basis or in small groups, depending on the needs of the children. However, in the Mont. classroom, most of the daily activity consists of individual children working on their own selected materials. When the director introduces new material, he does it with one child. Very rarely, he will work with two or three children.

    Also, in the mont. classroom, there is a heavy, heavy emphasis on reading, writing and math academic work. (We even have 4 year olds doing worksheets!!!) In my daughter's preschool, worksheets were not allowed!! The emphasis was on development of social skills, gross and fine motor skills. There was exposure to letters and numbers but it was through group games and songs and artwork.

    For some children, the Montessori approach is marvelous and they love it!! But for others, (particularly active boys) it is simply not the right environment. There is not enough gross motor activity and play is not allowed. Many of the boys in my class long to play with cars and trucks and build with duplos or tinker toys. They want to get involved with things that are squishy and messy. But the environment in the Mont. class does not allow for that. The girls in the class seem to be happier. They do enjoy the practical life work such as polishing, sewing, cloth washing and they do well in language and math activites in the classroom.
     
  9. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,291
    Likes Received:
    283

    May 8, 2008

    always good to hear good news...and another perspective....

    forgive me, I lost my job this week, so I may be more on edge than usual...

    :(
     
  10. Yenna

    Yenna Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 17, 2008

    Montessori is extremely different from traditional education. The basic principles are:
    1. a complete set of Montessori materials and an aesthetically pleasing environment
    2. a trained Director or Directress: Montessori established the AMI (www.montessori-ami.org) to provide teacher training. The training is full time for 9 months or over 3 summers. This includes lecture, essays, observation and practice teaching practicums. Montessori changed the name "teacher" to "directress" or "guide" to more adequately reflect the nature of the adult's role.
    3. a full 3 hour work cycle and 3 year age span
    4. understanding Montessori philosophy which balances freedom and responsibility and develops self-discipline.
    Look into more info at the AMI website and also NAMTA at www.montessori-namta.org
    There should be no worksheets. I was very surprised to hear about this happening at an AMI school.
    I personally think it is a wonderful method for very active children because there of the freedom of movement and choice of activity. We have also had much success including children with special needs.

    The book Montessori: The Science behind the Genius by Angeline Stoll Lillard (http://www.montessori-science.org/) is an incredible resource concerning Montessori theory and current educational research.

    Montessori programs go through elementary and middle school all the way through high school, although Montessori high schools are rather rare. Here is an example of two top notch programs for middle school http://www.hersheymontessori.pvt.k12.oh.us/why_hershey/Adolescent Program.htm
    and high school:
    www.montessorihighschool.org

    Finally, the US court decided that the name Montessori was in the public domain, so anyone can open a school and call it Montessori. Look for school accredited by AMI or Guides with AMI training. Also, Montessori allows for individual expression so there is some variety from class to class even within one school. You should be able to schedule a class observation to get a first hand look into the class you are interested in.

    Good luck!
     
  11. yorkyfan

    yorkyfan Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 17, 2008

    It is true that there is an enormous variation in what defines a Montessori school in the United States. Our school has only AMI trained personnel and AMI trainers come to the school (twice?) a year to observe the workings of the classrooms to be sure the directresses are adhering to AMI standards.

    As for the worksheets in the classroom, they are in full view of any observer who enters the classroom so I am assuming they are acceptable to the AMI. Note that the children are not required to do worksheets. It is one of many activities they can choose from. The director merely encourages the children to complete the worksheet if that is the activity they choose.

    As for gross motor work, the movement in the classroom and table/cloth washing are simply not sufficient for the active children in the class. In my daughter's traditional preschool, the children had a mid-morning playground break for twenty minutes and a thirty minute break after lunch. (The school went from 9 to 1). If the weather was bad, the school had an indoor play area with tricycles, wagons, little cars and nerf basketball. My daughter's school provided balls, jump ropes, and hula hoops for the kids to play with.
    In my mont. school, the three year olds get 10 minutes on the playground and the extended day students ( who go until 3:00) get 25 minutes. And that's if the weather is good! If the weather is bad, they stay in the classrooms. When I started as an assistant, I spoke up and said that this was not enough time. But the Montessori directresses argue that the children should get their gross motor time at home and, while at school, be in the Montessori classroom environment as much as possible.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. tchme295
Total: 252 (members: 2, guests: 211, robots: 39)
test