The Top Ten Things You’ll See
Looking Into a Montessori Classroom
Students of a 3-Year age span based on Montessori’s planes of development (ages 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, 12-15)
- To neutralize - vs. concentrating - single-year characteristics of development
- To provide role models of past and future expectations; mentoring; collaborative learning
- To offer a more natural, comfortable family grouping
Multiple Concurrent Activities
Children working on a wide range of activity/subjects throughout the room
- To engage the learning dynamics of choice and interest
- To provide opportunities for self-management and independence by planning and prioritizing work, establishing a personal time schedule
Individual and Small Group Lessons
Lessons are more precisely targeted to the child’s need and preparation (zone of proximal learning)
- To engage the child in developmentally appropriate challenges
- To present lessons which are personal vs. impersonal large audience
- To allow others the time to work independently
Materials vs. Textbooks
Equipping the child with multisensory, concrete, developmentally appropriate “tools of learning”
- To activate multiple lobes of the brain for deeper understanding and greater retention
- To engage the dynamic of movement in facilitating brain development
- To provide active versus passive learning (something done by you, not to you)
Experiencing learning as an active process fueled by movement, large or small
- To provide time to reflect by walking (large movement) or labeling (small movement)
- To prevent falling asleep, to develop self-regulation
- To activate the organizing process within the brain by gathering one’s own materials
Children learning from and about each other as they work
- To foster moving from egocentric to empathic (external loci)
- To develop the social intelligence to balance the academic
- To learn to relate and work with someone different than you
- To benefit from a variety of perspectives
Child Directed vs. Teacher Directed
The child-centered learning environment
- Teacher does not direct the whole class (motivate -> schedule -> equip -> reward/punish).
- Teacher instructs small groups along periphery, not whole class from center.
- Goal is independence, self-regulation, personal responsibility.
Discovering the reward within the work
- Praise draws the attention back to the child.
- Rewards divert the value from the work to an unrelated object.
- The goal is to experience the pride in a task well done; independence is the natural result.
Work Cycle (“Flow”)
Ensuring 2½ -3½ hours free of interruption
- Focus and concentration develop when given a chance; this is the child’s nature.
- Extended periods of deep concentration develop peacefulness and happiness.
- Providing the time and tools to learn are the keys to independence
As the child’s mind and spirit grow, so goes the curriculum.
- Math accelerates beyond TEKS, using geometry to visualize it.
- Grammar studies focus on the parts of speech, sentence analysis, phrases, clauses, verb tenses and moods
- History and science merge into a study of the universe.
- Sciences include: botany, zoology, earth science, astronomy, chemistry, physics, geology, paleontology, archaeology, geography, chemistry, etc.
- Child learns the interconnectedness of life.
- In researching the contributions and commonalities of all civilizations, children discover their responsibility to contribute to the Human Legacy.