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Montessori question ...

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Can somebody please explain the Montessori philosophy in one brief paragraph?

I asked someone this the other day and she suggested some books to read. Well, I don't get to read too often anymore so ...

Thanks ...

- Amy
post #2 of 21
Part of the philosophy is that kids prefer, and should have "real life" objects to play with, rather than "toy" things. I hope others can fill ion with the rest of the philosophy because this is a very little part of it.
post #3 of 21
Maria Montessori
1870–1952, Italian educator and physician.

She was the originator of the Montessori method of education for the preschool child and was the first woman to receive (1894) a medical degree in Italy. Italian physician and educator who proposed a method of teaching young children that stress the development of initiative and natural abilities. The Montessori system is based on belief in children's creative potential, their drive to learn, and their right to be treated as individuals. It relies on the use of "didactic apparatuses" to cultivate hand-eye coordination, self-directedness, and sensitivity to premathematical and preliterary instruction.
post #4 of 21
Amy just found your question. I was a Montessori teacher, and to try to sum it up in a paragraph is very difficult. I know why your friend suggested a book. It is not a method of "teaching" or certain "tools", but a wholistic approach to learning. They teach to each individual child to meet his needs and help guide him or her to be a good, productive adult. Each teacher is an observor of the child and is only there to help protect and quide, but the learning comes natural. The teacher creates a nurturing safe envirionment where the child is safe to explore and learn. I could go on, but you wanted a paragraph!! (the truth is it is late and I am tired) If you would like to chat more about it let me know!

post #5 of 21
Child led learning rather then teacher led. Children are free to follow and persue their own path of learning. The environment should be set up so children can explore on their own. Usually classroom are mixed with children of different ages so they learn from each other. Older children "teach" the younder ones.
post #6 of 21
i have also learned about this much about montissori style teaching. i have read that there is freedom in the class to learn what the child is interested in, but i have also gotton the impression that the freedom is acually very orderly. as in one example that ive gotton so far is the use of tools thing. where there is some sort of "graduation: from one tool to the next. like there given freedom to choose what they want to play with but only in a specific order. and only when they have masterd that skill can they be allowed to move onto the next level of tools. sorry if this is too vague, im still learning.

clarification on this would be appriciated
post #7 of 21
I always felt the Montessori would be where dd would go, but....she was sent home after her first 20 minutes!!!!I had been there a few times with Soleil, she was 2.5 yrs at the time. Soleil never once disguised the fact that she was highly active and curious. The day came when I was to actually drop her off, then get some sleep for my night shift. I was doing my cloth diaper pick up, not 20 mins after I dropped her off, when the teacher called me and asked me to come pick Soleil up, that it wouldn't work out.
Apparently, Soleil had managed to open their bird cage,(a budgy bird), catch the bird, and then held it too tight which resulted in the untimely death of the bird.
My question is, why was my daughter left alone for that long in her first 20 mins there without me? For a 2 yr old to figure out how to open a cage, and catch a bird, must take at least 5 mins.SEcondly, why did they not sit Soleil down and discuss her actions and consequences?????????????????????????
Needless to say, I am quite turned off, and , though it may just be the Montessori in my hometown, no other children of mine will be going there!

post #8 of 21
mamasoleil - i strongly think that is just THAT particular school and not the whole group

i was just at a parents meeting last night for a montessori preschool and while i did not get to see the staff with kids (my daughter was the only one that joined us)

i find it very doubtful that any kids would ever be allowed that much time to explore their curiosity un-witnessed [i cant imagine not knowing what a young child was doing for that long!!]

in fact this particular place doesn't allow toddlers to be there if they have older siblings enrolled. the philosophy of this particular place is that the materials aren't safe for the explorations of a two year old and that two year olds arent always respectful of materials. given the materials i saw in the room, its really just common sense
post #9 of 21

I thought it was common sense too! Anyway, I am turned off by them. Just my experience wasn't a great one!

find it very doubtful that any kids would ever be allowed that much time to explore their curiosity un-witnessed [i cant imagine not knowing what a young child was doing for that long!!]
I have written to the Montessori board, but no response, going on 7 mts now!!!!

post #10 of 21
I have found that children who have attended a Montessori preschool have a lot of trouble adjusting to typical kindergarten/ elementary schools. They get used to learning one way and have to make a BIG adjustment. There are some Montessori schools that go beyond preschool, but they are few and far between.

I also think the Montessori method is restrictive. Children must play with a certain toy in the way it was meant to be played with -little creativity. Also, they must get a placemat, place their toy on the mat, play with it on the mat, then return the mat when they are finished - at least, this is the way one Montessori teacher described it to me. I like the way it is child-led, however. Teachers are there for guidance, but do not teach directly to the children.
post #11 of 21
My children have been in a Montessori school since the age of three. They are now 7 and 8 and I would never put them any other place.

True, children do not consider what they do to be playing. They call it work. To them, this work is fun.

Yes, they must work with a certain material, on a mat, and may move onto a new material once they have mastered it. But they are not mastering the material, they are mastering the concept that the material is ment to teach. There are usually at least 5 different materials they can choose from to work with while they are learning a particular concept. So, there are 5 different materials for math, language, science, history, etc. That gives them a choice of at least 20 - 30 different materials they can work with on any given day.

There is extreme self esteem building because no one has to ever tell them that they did something 'wrong'. The materials are 'self correcting'. If the child uses the material incorrectly, they know it without having to be told. Then they just try again. The teacher always gives a lesson on a new material before the child can work with it.

They do work on mats. Part of this is to keep order in the classroom. Another part is that a child is allowed to leave there work out for several days until they determine that they have had enough of it. It also teaches responsibility. They get their work out, and when finished, they put it away.

Yes, children do have a hard time adjusting to a tradional classroom setting but it's usually because they are bored out of their minds and not challenged enough.

My children were able to add 4 digit numbers with carry over by the middle of first grade, and all with no stress! They absolutely adore their school, and I am so grateful to have this available for my children.

Not all Montessori schools are created equally. We have at least one "Montessori" school in our area that have no Montessori trained teachers, but have alot of Montessori equipment that never gets used.

I'm sorry if you had a bad experience, but if you can, it may be beneficial for you to observe a true Montessori classroom and speak to other parents who have had better experiences. I have also found it helpful to speek to other "non-montessori" parents to get their opinion on their current school. Most say they hate it but have no other choice. What a shame....
post #12 of 21
Besides general order of chaos & care of environment, another reason to use the striped rugs is to keep some of the materials laid out in a manner visually that makes them easier to use, for example laying out strands of beads, word/letter cards etc.. working left to right.
My older child went from Montessori to 4th grade public school no problems and the other children we knew transitioned easily at that age.
post #13 of 21
The one thing that makes an impression on me about our sons' school is that it is SO QUIET! The children are so engrossed in their work that they take little time to socialize during the work periods. These are broken up into very structured time segments and they go outside all year at least once a day, unless it is raining or below 25*F outside. Our school expressly encourages parental involvement in all aspects of the school. Their lunch periods are 45 minutes, including clean up time, much better than the 20 minutes I got as a child. There is also a French teacher there twice a week.
We love our school, but I agree, they are not all the same. make sure they are accredited with one or both of the national/international groups. the teachers should be CERTIFIED Montessori teachers. They are the only ones who know how to use the materials in all their facets.
post #14 of 21
My children ages 3 years old and 5 years old go to a Montessori school and they love it. I also enjoy seeing them work in such a quiet environment......they come home tired from a day full of actual learning and concentration, and not overstimulated, from a room full of noise and bright lights and teachers who have to discipline all day like in the public schools in our area.
post #15 of 21
I have a couple of Montessori comments. First let me preface this by saying that every child is different and I respect all educated choices made in respect to what kind of school is chosen for each child. OK then.
A neighbor sent her first child to Montessori preschool. She felt it was not helpful for her as she chose only to do what she liked - avoiding what she didn't do well. Therefore, did not make any progress in that area. And when she went on to traditional kindergarten, she was very behind - in that area. Neighbor's second child went to a traditional preschool instead.
My dd1 went to a co-op when she was 3 (LOVED that!!) but didn't like the 4s teacher so looked elsewhere for the second year. A friend and I wanted to keep our kids together so looked at a Montessori (and other preschools) together. Her son LOVED Montessori! My dd hated it! Basically stemmed from the fact that she wanted to play WITH her friend - asked him if she could - he said "sure!" and as they were about to share what he was "working" on, the teacher came running over to keep her from it. Told her it was his work and she could choose to use it after he was finished and had returned it to the shelf. She (and I) could not see why they could not work/play cooperatively. It comes down to personality differences of the kids. He loved that school and went there for two years. My dd told me (after an hour there with me on that day) that that was "NOT her school". We found another place that was NAEYC accredited that worked very well for her. (Friend's child actually went to Montessori 1/2 day and dd's school other 1/2.)
That said, dd2 will go to preschool a year from now so I am researching now as sign ups are in January in our state. She is a different child and may respond to different schooling. There is a Montessori THREE blocks from our house so I am going to check it out. A friend's son goes there and loves it. I worry about the seemingly anti-social attitude I saw at the other school. But you have to give it to Montessori on the cool toys! We'll see...
post #16 of 21
Not all Montessori schools are created equally. Just because they call themselves Montessori, doesn't always mean it. Some Montessori schools are REALLY Montessori, others do a mix of Mont. and tradional. Also, Montessori trained teachers are not easy to find. Many schools actually employ teacher that have little to no actuall Mont. training.

My children have always attended Montessori schools. I have had experiences with 2 different ones in our area, and I can tell you that there is a HUGE difference. If your teacher did not allow the children to work together, than she has been somehow mis-guided in her training. Also, a good Mont. teacher would NEVER allow a child to work on the same thing, day after day, and never move on. We have one Mont. school here that does allow that, and I have heard that some of their students actually leave kindergarten without being able to read. A good Mont. teacher will quide a child to work that the child doesn't think she will enjoy. And if she doesn't enjoy it, the teacher should then guide her to keep trying different equiptment.

What I am basically trying to say is that if you are even slightly interested in Mont. look at several different schools. Observe as much as you can. My children love their school so much that they practically kill each other trying to get out of the car in the morning. My first grader is reading 3rd grade level, on his own. No one asked him to do this reading. He is also doing carry over (dynamic) math with 4 digit numbers. Again, this is all on his own. No one forces him to do this. It can be such a wonderful experience for the whole family. Please keep looking into it, and I wish you the best of luck!!!
post #17 of 21
Hi - I have a friend who sent both of her children to a Montessori school all the way through elementary. It started when her dd was a preschooler and she was just going to send her there for preschool, then PS starting in KG. She was so impressed with the Montessori school that she kept her dd there and also sent her ds there later. Her dd is now in college and ds in high school. They both made the transition to ps just fine for middle school (6th grade). The first day of PS, her dd came home and said she didn't understand why her friends didn't want school to start back b/c she loved school. After about a week of PS, she said she now understood why! Anyway, both the dd and ds are/were in the National Honor Society and in AP classes in high school. The dd is thinking of becoming an education major and says she really believes that Montessori is the best way, having been in both systems.

Having said all this, we plan on trying Montessori when our son is old enough (still pregnant!), but - I'm a School Psychologist and have worked in several public school systems. I know alot of children who probably wouldn't be a good fit for Montessori, just like PS probably isn't a good fit for some kids either. I think it probably depends on each individual child (and I know people who send children to different schools based upon what each child needs) and also each individual school. Just like each PS is very different, so is each Montessori school, or private school, or Waldorf school, etc...

post #18 of 21
question for mommy22 - Any chance this great montessori school is in Jacksonville or Tampa area?
post #19 of 21
How lucky are you!!?? It's located in the Tampa Bay area. If you want information, private message me.
post #20 of 21
I went to Montessori preschool/kindergarten, then public school for 2nd and 3rd (skipped 1st because I was a little smarty pants) and then they started a Montessori Program at my public school and I rejoined my age group repeating 3rd, then 4th and 5th. Public school again for middle school where the three programs (standard, open classroom and montessori) fed into one.

Of the three programs, the Montessori kids, when in middle school with everyone, were clearly doing better in school. But this is in part because we had such an excellent teacher and involved parents. The program gained so much popularity because of the early classes' success (I was the first class) and then with different teachers and less involved parents it stood out less.

I loved my experiences, and felt I had a deeper understanding about high school stuff (once I got there) because of my early education. While others were memorizing formulas I was digging deeper wanting to get at "why does that formula work?" and would picture material we used in Montessori in my head as an aid.

The transition from kindergarten MOntessori to public school had a brief adjustment period. My parents laughed because my teacher was concerned that I was not focussed. They had to explain to her what my previous experiences were and what I was used to (choosing my own activity)...then at the end of the year my teacher laughed too that she ever said that about me. (Then that same teacher went on to get trained as a Montessori teacher and joined the elementary school program soon after it was born.)

Did you ask for one brief paragraph? I guess this is in response to some of the other posts.
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