“Teach by teaching, not by correcting”
There are no papers turned back with red marks and corrections. Instead the child’s effort and work is respected as it is. The teacher, through extensive observation and record-keeping, plans individual projects to enable each child to learn what he needs in order to improve.
Children are grouped from 12 months to 3 years in the toddler environment, from 3 to 6 years in the preschool environment and from 6 to 9 years and 9 to 12 years in the primary school environment. This is beneficial to the children as the younger children aspire to do the work of the older child and the older child develops a sense of responsibility when assisting the younger child. This motivates the child to exercise leadership skills and teaches them tolerance for their peers. When the older child assists his young peers, he in turn is revising previous work and is filled with a sense of achievement.
The environment is arranged according to subject area, and children are always free to move around the room instead of staying at desks. There is no limit to how long a child can work with a piece of material. During the day all subjects (mathematics, language, science, history, geography, art, music, etc) will be studied, at all levels.
The Prepared Environment
The classroom is set up in such a manner that it caters specifically for the child. Everything is accessible to the children and they are given freedom within a controlled environment. The materials are all laid out in a logical sequence, giving the child a sense of order. All the materials in the environment are auto educative and self correcting, allowing the child to discover his own mistakes without having a teacher correct him, this improves the child’s’ awareness and builds self esteem and confidence. Imaginative teaching materials are the heart of the process.
The Three-hour Work Cycle
Under the age of six, there is one 3-hour, uninterrupted, work cycle each day, not broken up by required group lessons. Adults and children respect concentration and do not interrupt someone who is busy at a task. Groups form spontaneously or are arranged ahead by special appointment. They almost never take precedence over self-selected work.
The teachers in a Montessori classroom are known as Directresses. Instead of providing the children with answers the Directresses ask the right questions, guiding the children into discovering the answers for themselves. Learning becomes its own reward, and each success fuels the desire to discover even more.
The aim of the Montessori Method is to instill in children their own sense of self discipline with guidance from the Directress. As the Prepared Environment is a stimulating and enticing environment, boredom does not easily arise, which is often the main reason for disciplinary problems. As Maria Montessori says, “When you have solved the problem of controlling the attention of the child, you have solved the entire problem of education.” If a disciplinary problem should arise it is dealt with individually, keeping the child’s self esteem in mind at all times.
Education of character is considered equally with academic education, children learning to take care of themselves, their environment and each other with activities like cooking, cleaning, gardening, moving gracefully, speaking politely, being considerate and helpful and doing social work in the community etc.
Progress reports are issued at the end of each term and a compulsory Parent/Directress conference is held at the end of the first term.