The Montessori philosophy is based on the idea that children follow their instincts, be their own teachers and develop their abilities and personal preferences. That is, they build themselves. Autonomy, independence, initiative, choice, development of the will, and self-discipline. These are the six pillars of the Montessori Method, an alternative education system created more than a century ago and applied in schools around the world. But what is the Montessori Method like and why is it becoming more and more fashionable?
Some of the people considered most successful in politics, business, and even literature were trained at some stage in their lives under these free and structured precepts. Among the most famous students of the Montessori Method are Jackie Kennedy, Jeff Bezos (the owner of Amazon), Sergey Brin, and Larry Page (Co-founder of Google). And even the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez went through that experience in the early years of his upbringing.
HOW IS THE MONTESSORI METHOD?
The creator of the Montessori Method -at the beginning of the 20th century- was Maria Tecla Artemisia Montessori, a pedagogue, an anthropologist with a Ph.D. in philosophy and one of the first Italian doctors in history, who graduated from the University of Rome in 1896.
Among the main characteristics of this teaching model is that of dividing the learning profile by age ranges -not by grades, as in traditional education. Thus, they have rooms made up of children of three different ages (from 0 to 3 years old, from 3 to 6, from 6 to 9, and from 9 to 13, per case) to promote socialization, responsibility, and the exercise of teaching children. It also covers all educational stages: from birth to 18 years.
Montessori education proposes the concept of "whole child", which focuses on the learning pace of each student and is focused on emotional, social, physical, and cultural development. That is, the realization of the human being in all its potential: raising individuals whose personality is as close as possible to a life in harmony, both with the social world that surrounds them and in their relationship with the Universe.
In the Montessori environment, each element must have its reason for being in the development of children. Both the spaces, the objects, and the games - many of which were invented by the creator of the method herself - constitute authentic microcosms where beauty, harmony, cleanliness, and order are prioritized.
The classrooms are bright and spacious, the furniture is consistent with the size and age of the children, and there are usually areas for group work and others for individual tasks.
There are no desks, but students carry out their activities at tables of different sizes or even on the floor. The shelves are low so that everyone can choose a material and return it later for their classmates to use. And there is a corner of silence - where there may be a fish tank, or plants and flowers - so that the little one who wants it can have a moment of peace and reflection and enhance their capacity for calm and tranquility while enjoying observing the wonders of nature.
Regarding the role of the teacher, it is not to transmit all the knowledge or to give instructions, orders, and tasks: he explains briefly and then observes, without interfering.
10 "COMMANDMENTS" OF THE MONTESSORI METHOD
These are some of the short -and precise- reminders of the Montessori Method:
1) A child learns from his environment, and from what surrounds him. That's why it's important that close adults be the best role models for him. If he is criticized a lot, he will learn to judge; if hostility is shown to him, he will learn to fight; whereas, if he is habitually praised, he will know what it is to value.
2) You have to help the child to grow up feeling safe in every action so that he learns to trust others.
3) If you patronize a child, he will learn to be patient.
4) If a child is often neglected he develops a negative feeling of guilt. It is important to stimulate him so that he registers that his ideas and opinions are well accepted and so that he feels good about himself. If he is ridiculed, he will be a timid person.
5) Living in an environment where he feels cared for, loved, and necessary will show him the way to find love in the world.
6) It is important that their virtues and their evolution are valued. Don't talk bad about him when he's around but also when he's not.
7) Listening to him and always giving him an answer when he comes up with a question or a comment will encourage him to look for his own arguments.
8) Respect and support him even when he has made a mistake. Now or later he will find only a way to correct it.
9) Always be willing to help him if he is looking for something, but also allow him the space to find it on his own.
10) Talk to the child in a good way, doing your best so that he feels safe. In this way, he will learn not to seek the approval of an adult in every situation.
WHY THE MONTESSORI METHOD IS BECOMING MORE AND MORE FASHIONABLE?
There are close to 22,000 schools distributed in the six continents that apply the Montessori Method and each year the demand for those interested in this particular philosophical current of education increases.
Many of those who choose it for their children do so in rebellion against the conventional educational system which, they consider, is aimed at training all children in the same capacities. In Montessori classrooms, they find an alternative path.
In recent decades, moreover, there has been a kind of "Montessorization" within the children's market, a trend that has led both large companies and entrepreneurs to launch products with a "Montessori profile" and often, under this argument, with prices both excessive.
The truth is that "Montessori fashion" allows you to find all kinds of resources based on this philosophy. In bookstores, there are shelves dedicated exclusively to this "subgenre". There are Montessori clothes, with natural materials, without fantasy characters, and designed so that the little ones can dress and undress.
And you can also get objects and toys to "Montessorize" the boys' rooms with natural materials - prioritizing wood and metal - since, their promoters say, it allows them a richer sensory experience and encourages ecological awareness and care of the planet.
If you are interested in giving your children a Montessori environment, then you can contact Mutendi Montessori to get your child enrolled.