Summarize Montessori for me?

Discussion in 'Montessori' started by Caesar753, Jul 29, 2007.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jul 29, 2007

    I hope I don't sound silly, but I don't know a lot about Montessori. How is it unique? What are some of the key concepts?
     
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  3. Yenna

    Yenna Companion

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    Aug 7, 2007

    Summary:
    Montessori is child-centered, individual and small group lessons, classes consist of mixed age groupings - the levels are as follows: birth to 2.5, 2.5 to 6+, 6-12, 12-15 with high school levels being added but are few and far between.
    What makes it special? Children achieve a high level of independence which boosts their self-confidence. Children are able to explore and develop their individual talents and preferences. The adult is called a Directress or Guide as opposed to a teacher to better describe their role. The child actually teaches himself through use of the materials. The Directress' role is to connect the child to the environment by offering appropriate lessons and by protecting his concentration.
    This is a basic summary. See montessori-ami.org for more info.
     
  4. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Aug 7, 2007

    Hey Ruth, this question's right up your alley :)
     
  5. nyanne

    nyanne Rookie

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    Aug 14, 2007

    Here's a letter I wrote to the editor of my hometown paper in 2002...hope it helps!

    Dear Editor:

    My mother just sent me an article from your paper, “Schools taking new look at old idea,” from which issue I am not sure. I am writing to you as a former Guilderland Central School District student, a former traditional schoolteacher, and now as a Montessori teacher of the past three years. I would like to inform the public a little about the Montessori way of learning, as I know it is not widely known of or understood. Even through my traditional teacher training in college, Montessori education was not learned of. I happened to fall into this situation, and am amazed at what I’ve found.

    Maria Montessori was born in Italy, and lived from 1870 to 1952. She became Italy’s first woman doctor after many obstacles, and much hard work and determination. She worked with children at a psychiatric clinic in Rome labeled as “insane.” She studied the education of special needs children and, at the clinic, developed materials to teach those “retarded” and emotionally disturbed children. What she discovered soon became the well-known concept of Montessori education in Europe, and is now becoming more popular in the United States.

    Montessori education incorporates many different concepts and ideas of learning and education. Maria believed that children should work with hands-on materials to gain a concrete understanding of abstract ideas. When the children work with materials, they learn the “why” of what they are doing, as opposed to simply the “how.” They learn to come up with the mathematical and language rules on their own through hands-on experiences, rather than having the teachers tell them, which leads to internalization of the rules.

    Maria also believed in a multi-age classroom (as your article discusses) where students are able and encouraged to work at their own ability level, as opposed to their age level. Children should not have to know what it is to fail. Montessori students do not receive grades, nor do they take tests, as we know them to be. They show the teacher (“directress” or “director”) that they’ve, first, mastered the work with the materials, and then that they’ve moved on and mastered it abstractly. In Montessori they work at their appropriate level, moving on when they show success with previous concepts, while at the same time being able to revisit materials and concepts that they do not yet understand. All of the materials are in one classroom. (Most Montessori schools are broken up by age levels: 3-6, 6-9, and 9-12, although my classroom happens to be 6-12, all elementary ages together.) Children use what they need when they need it. There is no, “Everybody open your math books to page 54 now so we can practice our subtraction.” It’s all very individualized. In fact, while in college studying both elementary and special education, I thought the ideal situation would be where a classroom had individual education plans (IEPs) for each child. I had no idea that there is such a place, and that is a Montessori classroom.

    Another positive influence about the multi-age classroom is that of developing a sense of community and family in the room. We help each other. We respect each other. We learn with and from each other. The children know each other well, and the teacher knows each child and where each child is at each year after year.

    From my experience, Montessori education seems to be misunderstood by many people. Montessori is a school for anyone, not only special needs students, not only advanced students. It is simply a different, more natural, way of learning. There is so much more to this type of education that I simply could not put it all into one letter. It’s easier to see how Montessori works, than to hear; it is easier to show, than to tell. That must be the Montessori teacher in me, for that’s how our children learn. They learn by being shown, and then by doing themselves. I encourage the readers to visit a Montessori school to see for themselves what it is and how it works. But, please understand that the Montessori name is not patented, and therefore not all schools that use the name are truly Montessori. Look for schools that are accredited by the American Montessori Society (AMS) or the American Montessori Institute (AMI). For further information here are some good websites on Montessori education as well:
    www.amshq.org (AMS’s site)
    www.montessori-ami.org) (AMI’s site)
    www.montessori.org (Montessori Foundation)
     
  6. Yenna

    Yenna Companion

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    Aug 15, 2007

    AMI is the Association Montessori Internationale based in Holland, began by Dr. Montessori to safeguard and promote her life's work.

    Also see www.montessori-namta.org, this site is full of information. NAMTA is North American Montessori Teacher's Association.
     
  7. nyanne

    nyanne Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2007

    Thanks for that...somewhere along the way I had that mixed up. I didn't even reread the letter before posting.
     
  8. Yenna

    Yenna Companion

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    Aug 21, 2007

    btw, Nyanne, I really liked your post.
     
  9. nyanne

    nyanne Rookie

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    Aug 21, 2007

    Thanks! :)
     
  10. gr8_life

    gr8_life Companion

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    Oct 14, 2007

    Video or DVD on Montessori's lfe

    Anyone know of a video or the person and the method?
     
  11. gr8_life

    gr8_life Companion

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    I think I found one on the M web site. Has anyone viewed Montessori, the science behind the genius? Did I remember the title correctly? :confused:
     
  12. stavb

    stavb Rookie

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    Thanks for the post, nyanne. I went to a Montessouri school for the first 7 years of my life. Today there is a local Montessouri school and their philosophy of teaching is nothing like what I remember. I'll have to check to see if they are accredited or whether my memory is faulty. I loved, really loved, my early learning years and I believe that it helped me love school the rest of my life.
     
  13. MissWull

    MissWull Cohort

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    Jun 5, 2008

    The explaination helps a lot and I remember interviewing at a Montessori school before I had begun my education for my multiple subject credential. Although I never really saw the interaction between the teacher and the students because we didn't stay in the classroom long enough.
    What exactly do the teachers, or dictresses do? What would it be like in a normal day? All I know of are the traditional school-teacher ways...
    What would a lesson be like? Would the dictress stand at the front of the class and teach a concept?
     
  14. Yenna

    Yenna Companion

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    The lessons are practiced and memorized in training, then are presented depending on the age and experience of the individual child, usually individually or in small groups of 2 or 3. There is a three hour work period every morning during which the students are given lessons and practice their lessons (subject matter includes academics, arts, foreign language, music and phys. ed). The students can work on a lesson as long as needed to fully understand the concept. The Directress moves throughout the room all morning, giving lessons as needed. There is a lot of record keeping and observation notes.
     
  15. stavb

    stavb Rookie

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    Jun 6, 2008

    Thank you, Yenna. That was a great explanation.

    Stav
     

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