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how do you describe Montessori?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Just wondering, when you are in conversation with an acquaintance and they've never heard of it, how do you describe it in a short concise way?
post #2 of 16

I'm sure you could have googled this yourself, but here are some thoughts .I"m sure some Montessori parents will help you out soon!

 

http://privateschool.about.com/od/privateschoolfaqs/f/montessori.htm
 

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks Lauren for responding! I have read that page in the past. I thought many of us would be asked this question & Montessori isn't that mainstream. I was hoping some would share their translation/summary since I'm terrible at explaining things! I suppose I will have to try & put something together & memorize it.

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post #4 of 16

For me, the key thing about Montessori is that it's child-led, so if I met someone who had never heard of Montessori and was interested, I would start there. I would explain that there are a lot of activities available to children in a Montessori classroom, from which the children can choose freely and progress with them at their own pace. If they were still interested, I would probably describe some of the activities that my son enjoys, particularly some of the practical life activities like cooking and cleaning which are a big focus for the younger kids. I guess this would lead naturally to talking about how independence is encouraged, etc.... I'm sure I could go and on but I think these would be the main things.

 

Hope this helps a little. smile.gif

 

Cheers, Caitlinn

post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by neonalee View Post

Thanks Lauren for responding! I have read that page in the past. I thought many of us would be asked this question & Montessori isn't that mainstream. I was hoping some would share their translation/summary since I'm terrible at explaining things! I suppose I will have to try & put something together & memorize it.
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I think in general folks take a little breather of sorts from the School forums during the summer, so you might also want to check in on this question again more towards the end of the summer when members start getting ready for the new school year.

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Good point. My son is only 2 so I'm not on that schedule yet & forget about that. Thanks again!

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post #7 of 16

I start with it being child-led learning, and also the philosophy of "Help Me Help Myself" - that Montessori helps a child gain independence in many areas of life, teaching them skills they can use each day to help them in a way they understand, which cuts down on frustration for little ones especially.

post #8 of 16

Jumping back in after a hiatus of too many issues at the home front:  

 

Montessori - child led learning that is individualized to the needs and ability of the child.  No apologies  - just say you're so excited about the whole method.

 

I was at a work "dinner" last night and when I described Montessori - the reaction was:  

 

Oh, yes, I've heard of it (tune out to another conversation at table)

Yes, (listening in)

 

My basic response - Just an amazing pedagogy with respect for the child and huge successes in so many areas  and examples of what my daughter's primary class has done says more than you can imagine.

 

I always close the description with:  Heck, I'll send Lindsey to work if I can go to Montessori!

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Very helpful, thank you!

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post #10 of 16
First, it's important to remember that just because a school is called Montessori does not mean its really following Montessori methods.

To be a true Montessori school it should follow these guidelines at the very least:

- Mixed ages: most schools teach groups of children who are born in the same 12 month period or in some case the same 6 month period but Montessori classrooms include children in a 3 year period (example age 3-6) enabling older children to reinforce what they've learned by teaching it to younger children and by providing young children with role models. In this way, too, children progress at their own pace rather than being pushed forward or pulled back just to fit with the rest of the class.

- Deep concentration: one principle of Montessori is to allow children blocks of time to really concentrate on a subject. Generally it's about 3 hours in the am and 3 hours in the pm. So instead of spending 1 hour per subject per day and getting overstimulated or distracted, barely brushing the surface of each subject, Montessori children can really dig deep into a subject and learn more.

- Tactile: most projects are hands on and the children learn by exploring, discovering things themselves. They are not lectured to. They are encouraged to be curious, to investigate, to learn more than to merely "behave" or "listen."

- Values: Montessori schools promote certain values of social responsibility, productiveness/ strong work ethic, organization, and peace.
post #11 of 16

Most people I am having the conversation with either know my daughter or are seeing her in that moment (she's pretty much always with me minus the 3 hours she is in class) and it is easy for me to describe it by pointing "that!".  She is really a Montessori model.

 

But I agree with others about keys being "child led", independence, life skills.  I also talk about there being no workbooks, traditional desks and what most people call teachers and Montessori calls Guides, I call magicians because people don't understand how a room full of 3-6 year olds who aren't being herded like cattle can be so quiet!

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the replies! They've been especially handy lately as I've started to meet more moms, and we've started looking at different schools. I'm really not impressed with our current one. It's sufficient in terms of daycare, and not out of our budget, but he also doesn't seem to be learning the types of things I would expect in a Montessori environment.
post #13 of 16

I've always seen Montessori as a way of teaching children to engage the world and act like real people from the earliest age.  Put negatively, it is an educational philosophy that doesn't treat children like pets or machines.

 

(That's my concisest definition.)

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Oh I like that!

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post #15 of 16
http://montessorimatt.com/montessori/Video321FastDraw.asp Watch this video. It gives you good insight into what many parents look for in a Montessori setting. It might help you while describing it to parents.
post #16 of 16

wow thanks for sharing that last link, it was really impactful on my, I'm just starting to learn about these different schools.

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