The Montessori Method
Dr. Maria Montessori spent six decades developing and perfecting the method of education, which we now employ at The Julia Brown Schools.
Her method differs in many ways from that of conventional education. Probably the most important difference concerns the child’s motivation for learning. Conventional educators, because they often are not flexible enough to honor an individual child’s natural timetable for learning, find it necessary to motivate the student by compliments, competition, and stimulation of their desire to please.
Dr. Montessori, on the other hand, utilized the child’s natural desire to learn rather than some outside impetus. She advocated proper timing in the presentation of academic materials so that a child’s motivation came from within. She observed that all children are vigorously acquiring new knowledge about their environment as a natural result of growing up.
For the most part they are not seeking to learn scholastic subjects. Instead, they are learning through continuous activity about the interaction of themselves with their environment. In our Montessori schools, the environment has been meticulously prepared to facilitate the child’s natural learning needs arid to include scholastic subjects in this learning process.
The Montessori environment contains numerous apparatuses with which the children work. These materials appeal to children because they meet the child’s need to hold and manipulate objects, which stimulate their senses. Each apparatus fulfills a role in the natural development of the child’s intelligence. The Montessori apparatuses are also designed to expand the child’s natural desire for knowledge in such fields as writing, reading, math, social studies, and geometry.
Every Primary classroom has mixed age groups of children 2 1/2 to 5 1/2 years and our Junior classroom has mixed age groups of children 5 1/2 to 9 years. Younger children get a sense of security from the older ones. They are in constant view of their work and demeanor, often helping their maturity. The older children get a sense of confidence and accomplishment by being able to help their younger classmates. This feeling of social responsibility is shared by all.