A strong scientific foundation
The Montessori Method was developed scientifically, through careful experimentation with different teaching techniques and detailed observations of children behaviours.
It was created to develop a way of teaching that allows children to effectively develop their intellectual, physical, emotional and social ability.
The Montessori Method
The translation of Maria Montessori's original book containing her research, is now available on the public domain, and can be downloaded from Project Gutenberg.
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The difference with traditional schools
Montessori based schools are very different from traditional schools. This is visible just by looking at the classroom, from how things are arranged, to the activities and the positions of the children and teachers.
The most fundamental difference though, lies on its goal and philosophy.
Unlike traditional schools, Montessori does not focus on academic performance. This is why a lot of Montessori schools does not provide or track numerical grades, which usually get replaced by a more qualitative evaluation.
Instead, the goal of the Montessori method is to effectively help the children grow their intellectual, physical, emotional and social ability, which in turn will allow those children to excel both in academic performance and in life.
This fundamental difference in goal leads to a lot of difference in the design of the classroom and what activities are executed in it.
Teacher's role as a guide
Unlike in traditional schools, teachers doesn't stand in front of the class talking and giving instructions, which would put him/her as the center focus of the class.
In a Montessori classrooms, teachers acts only as an observer that occasionally gives guidance when required. Allowing students to explore and learn independently.
By changing the teacher's role, we are able to create an environment where the children can direct themselves and learn at their own pace. Putting themselves at the focus of their education.
Montessori schools provides freedom for children to work at their own pace, without interruption, choosing from a range of activities that are developmentally challenging and appropriate.
Exploration is also encouraged so that children find things out for themselves, make mistakes and correct them independently.
This helps children to develop the ability to be independent, helping them to learn to evaluate choices and make decision by themselves.
Montessori uses multi-age-classrooms that consists of mixed aged groups. This is done to create an opportunity for them to learn from others, as well as learning by helping each other.
Older students often instinctively helps younger students when they are struggling. This not only make the class more efficient, but it also helps students learn to teach and builds their sense of empathy.
This classroom design ties back in to one of Montessori's main goal, which is to effectively develop children's social ability.
Montessori school's students are also encouraged to develop a strong sense of respect for others, the community and the environment.
Most importantly, the Montessori environment also drives the students to become peacemakers and problem solvers among their peers.
You can observe this in the design of Montessori classrooms in things such as the peace corners, which is a place specially designed for children to solve conflicts using communication and mutual respect.