In the continuing search for a concise way to explain “What is Montessori”, here is part 2.
Montessori is successfully applied in 22,000+ schools around the world.
After examining the Political Globe and the Puzzle Map of the World, a three-year-old child traces the edges of one of the continent pieces, beginning to wonder about and build his desire to see and know it all.
Montessori has been around for 100+ years
Dr. Maria Montessori looking at something with a child and talking with her.
Tea Day, a traditional activity that brings back the civility and delight of a meal shared as a social occasion.
The Montessori method uses the link between activity & learning
The brush in hand will deliver soap and water to a table’s surface and describe circles large and small, strengthening the hand, the perception and the will of the child who grips it.
Large motor activity strengthens the child’s mind as well, integrating the aesthetic experience and the joy of movement for its own sake with an understanding of the body in space.
Here you can almost see the child’s fingers moving, tracing to the place where her two addends will meet, showing the sum of the two numbers.
Elementary children capturing the shape of a geometric figure, the triangular prism, and its shadows, employ the motor control and self-discipline they developed in Primary to help them discover geometric relationships while they hone their sketching and shading skills.
Adults at a Parent Information Night, called “Benefits of Montessori Through the Elementary Years,” learn through movement, too. They explore the relationship between the volumes of a square pyramid and a square-based rectangular prism of the same height, on the way to deriving the formula for finding the volume of a cone. They can see and feel the excitement the children experience in learning.
In a Montessori classroom, the materials are inviting
A child savors the sight of his his Smelling Bottles, containers with tiny holes in their tops, releasing different, very subtle scents to match.
Two children work together to grade color tablets from lightest to darkest, and to recall their names. While the hands of the older child take care of the business of careful sorting of the individual tablets, the eyes of the younger child drink in the richness of their delicious hues.
Again, a younger and an older child work together, drawn by the beauty and the exactness they can create with the materials. They are building a Pink Tower with two faces aligned, creating a ziggurat-like shelf on two sides, exactly large enough to accommodate the one centimeter-cubed piece.
A table set for an everyday lunch is also a material, an attractive environment for sharing a meal together!
Individual and small group lessons are fun
An individual lesson introduces a piece of material the child will use to memorize his addition facts. The attention of the teacher and of the child are trained on what they are doing, experiencing and enjoying together.
A teacher guides a child as she aligns wooden numeral cards to her arranged Number Rods. Another child looks on, absorbing images of this process.
A small group gather for movement and music at a SummerScapes afternoon Musicgarten session.
An outdoor group lesson introduces additional information about stems and leaves to a group of Elementary children. Some plant structures are especially interesting in the fall.
The magic of an Elementary story lesson captures the imagination of the children. The questions that arise will fuel their research projects and expeditions into the surrounding community. This photo has appeared in an earlier post about the Elementary.
Each learns at her own pace in a friendly environment
Friendships form at work and at play.
Friends share a laugh.
A Montessori school is a warm community
Sharing some time over a favorite book offers opportunities for warmth and affirmation all around.
Supportive friends help get a child in position for a swing across the “Lake of Fire” at Nature’s Classroom.
A play staged by Elementary children and attended by Primary invitees benefits both. A good lesson in teamwork, organization and presentation for the Elementary children becomes entertainment and a lesson in Grace and Courtesy at the Theater for the younger ones.
Thing Two appears in focus as he and his threesome of friends presents a carefully rehearsed tap routine for parents, teachers and other classes in the grand finale of a series of skits the creators entitled, “Cirque de So Lame.”
Here, Northwoods t-shirts are ready to be distributed for the Fall Carnival and “Spirit Day.” Our former students love their Northwoods shirts and wear them thin. In the office, we see how many different ones we can wear on Fridays.
A group of children bring birthday greetings to Beth, one of our founders and our Executive Director, in her office. Their eager anticipation of her response illustrates the respect and kindness given and received in this kind of community, “providing a foundation for lifelong learning,” supporting a lifetime of growth for us all.
How do you describe Montessori when your friends ask you?
Please let us know if there are words or phrases you think describe Montessori school well — or if you think some of ours are confusing.
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Thank you, kind and gentle audience.