In designing this course, the IMTTI team has aimed at giving you an understanding of the Montessori Method and an insight into the applications of the Montessori Tools.
A study of the human development from birth to adulthood, the physical and psychology aspects of the child between three and six years. The child is seen as the constructor of the adult. Dr. Maria Montessori refined her theory of child psychology, borrowing heavily from the sciences of biology and psychology. She described childhood as a process in which a hidden but definite plan of nature unfolds as the child works to create the adult personality.
Focus is on the concepts of Montessori principles, such as the Absorbent Mind’, Sensitive Periods ’ and the ‘Human Tendencies’, which are the subconscious powers, which guide the child in his self-construction. Freedom: within a structured environment. The child is allowed to move around freely talking to other children and working with the equipment, which she/he chooses after demonstration of its use, by the teacher. However, she/he is not allowed to abuse the equipment or disturb other children, thereby limiting their freedom to work. Independence: the child’s natural need for independence is encouraged. Self-discipline:t his is gradually developed through freedom of movement and freedom ofchoice. Concentration: children are encouraged to concentrate by being introduced to materials at the right developmental level for them, and to complete each activity. Reality and Nature: the value of growing up in close contact with nature. Children need real objects rather than imitation playthings, which do not work. Beauty: the environment should be aesthetically pleasing, simple and clean. Social awareness: this is aided by placing children in ‘family’ or mixed age groups.
Order:both materials and the environment promote order. Children usually feel comfortable in an ordered classroom where they understand the routine. Respect: children have to be respected as being different from adults and as individuals who differ from each other. Sensitive periods: children have times in their lives when they are particularly attuned to certain types of learning. Co-operation with parents: schools are part of the local community; children learn most effectively when a partnership exists between the child, parent and teacher and she/he is allowed to do things by him/herself. Additionally, the curriculum includes the organization and administration of a new Montessori House of Children’. It also deals with tackling various responsibilities involved while merging into an existent classroom and adapting to the children. It offers training in the technique of objective observation, material making, record maintenance, evaluation, parent orientation, and parent education, etc.
The theory deals with the origin and development of the Montessori method. Also dealt in detail are the role and the training of the adult as Montessori Directress ’ and the function of the’ Prepared Environment as a cohesive and scientific environment to self-formation of the child. The Importance of the Early Years: when young children possess an ‘absorbent mind’ and learn far more easily and effectively. Montessori materials: These are a key element in the environment, as the child learns through the materials, many of which are self-correcting, rather than directly through the teacher. The role of the teacher in the Montessori classroom is different from that of the traditional teacher. The Montessori teacher first observes the child to ascertain his/her interests and developmental level, and then gently directs the child towards appropriate activities so that she/he learns for him/herself through the environment and through the specially designed educational materials. Montessori tools can be grouped into 5 areas of activities.
In the Practical Life area, children carry out familiar home activities, such as sweeping, polishing, dusting, pouring, preparing foods, etc. These activities are designed to help the child achieve independence and confidence through meaningful activity with real life objects; they help develop coordination, concentration, independence, hand dexterity, care of one’s self and environment, patience and grace and courtesy.
The Sensorial Material allows the child to understand his environment while learning through his senses. Each piece of material has one isolating quality, such as colour, weight, size, shape, texture, sound, smell, etc., which enables the child to take in impressions with true understanding and gives purpose, order and structure to his/her learning. Montessori materials are didactic and allow the child to see his/ her mistakes and correct them, which develops perseverance and a positive self-image and attitude towards mistakes.
Many activities are designed to proceed naturally towards the development of skills for reading and writing. The child first learns the phonetic sound of the letters, which leads to Building short phonetic words, he/she progresses at his/her own pace to reading longer phonetic words and is finally introduced to the different parts of grammar.
The child is introduced to Mathematics through the use of concrete materials. By working with the specially designed materials, he/she learns the physical quantities and matching abstract symbols. The child always works from the concrete to the abstract. By working with concrete materials, the child can see and understand the operations of Addition, Multiplication, Subtraction and Division. A solid foundation is formed for Algebra and Geometry through working with concrete materials.
We introduce the children to Cultural Subjects (Geography, History, Botany, Zoology, Science, Music and Art) to help feed their imagination and understanding of the real world during the time that they are most sensitive to them, which enables them to understand their role and the fact that they are part of the whole system.