Montessori education is based on the pioneering work of Dr. Maria Montessori, whose lifelong study of the way children develop led her to create a method designed to take maximum advantage of children's natural desire to learn.
The Montessori Method respects the uniqueness of each child and tailors the educational experience to the needs and progress of each child's developmental level. For the young child, skill-building activities are presented individually, on the child's own developmental schedule, when the teacher observes that the child is ready for that particular lesson.
In traditional schools, children of roughly the same age are put together in the same class. Montessori classrooms include an age range of approximately three years. These mixed age groupings are an important part of the Montessori experience. They create a community that fosters a family-like atmosphere, where the older children help their younger classmates. Cooperation and respect are nurtured.
Fostering self-motivation and using mixed-age classrooms allows Montessori environments to offer a greater amount of freedom than other classrooms. As the children are drawn to and engage in concentrated work, they begin to develop self-discipline. They learn to concentrate on their own work and respect the work of others. Respect is at the core of the Montessori-philosophy-respect for each person and for the environment. The goal of Montessori education is the development of autonomous and competent, caring , empathetic, and adaptive citizens.
The Montessori child learns not what to think but how to think. The carefully prepared environment and trained Montessori teachers offer the children materials and guidance that will help them discover the world in which they live. They develop into engaged, self-motivated students and acquire the skills needed to become healthy, active citizens in their community.
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