Early development of the child according to the Montessori system
Today, it is difficult to find a person who doesn’t know the name of Maria Montessori and hasn’t heard of the existence of the Montessori method. But, in most cases, this is all. Most people have no idea what a Montessori system is. So now we’ll try to fill this gap.
Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was an Italian physician and educator who developed her own pedagogical system, which gained immense popularity in the world.
Maria was the first woman in Italian history to complete a course in medicine. In 1896 she received a doctor’s degree and became one of the first female doctors in Italy. Maria began to deal with the problem of mentally retarded children and develop teaching methods for them. At the heart of her methodology was the principle of self-development.
And soon it became clear that children studying according to Montessori system were outpacing healthy children in writing, arithmetic and reading skills. It was a real sensation! Hence the obvious conclusion: the Montessori method is effective, and the method of teaching healthy children – no. So, Maria decided, it is necessary to create a new method of teaching healthy children. She devoted her entire life to this and the result was a revolutionary method of teaching children, recognized around the world.
Montessori method: basic principles
1. Respect for the child’s personality.
The basis of the Montessori method is respect for the child’s personality, freedom, needs and interests. Every child is a unique person who develops according to his own laws. And parents and teachers should help this person to reveal and develop their abilities.
2. Self development.
The sense of the Montessori method is in self-education, self-learning and self-development of the child. Which means, the child must develop independently. And the teacher’s role is to help the child with this. This principle can be formulated as follows: “Help me do it myself.”
3. Early development.
Maria Montessori believed that “The most important period in life is not during university studies, but the earliest, from birth to six years. Because this is the age when a person’s intellect is formed which is his most important tool. And not only intelligence but also all the possibilities of his psyche: this is the age when a child needs intelligent, qualified assistance. And any obstacle that hinders his creative and productive work reduces his chances of perfection (from M. Montessori’s book “Absorbing Consciousness”).
Modern psychological research shows that during the period from birth to 4 years a person develops 50% of his natural intelligence, and at the age of 4 to 8 years – another 30%. This means that it is very important not to miss the early stages of a child’s development.
Freedom is one of the fundamental principles of the Montessori method. Free development, free learning. The child chooses what and how long he or she will do.
5. Montessori materials.
Montessori materials are a huge set of specially designed manuals and educational games. All manuals are made of natural materials.
The teacher provides the child with educational materials and shows how to deal with them. The child first works with the material as he was shown, and then performs various exercises.
6. Montessori teachers.
A Montessori teacher is not the authoritarian teacher we are used to. He doesn’t sit at the table in front of the class, but deals with children.
This is a person who tactfully helps a child to develop. He demonstrates how to work with Montessori materials that the baby chooses. Then he gives the child the opportunity to deal with the material on his or her own.
If a child makes a mistake, the teacher tries not to interfere, allowing the child to define the mistake. Making mistakes and correcting them by himeself will help the child will learn from his own experience. If the teacher sees that he needs to help the child, he immediately does so.
Thus, Montessori teacher guides the child how to work with the material, then observes the child’s independent work and comes to his aid at the right time.
7. Individual pace.
An important element of the Montessori technique is the opportunity for each child to develop at their own pace.
One child can spend several days working with the same material, and another will be able to move faster from one material to another.
Therefore, children with different abilities can study in the group at the same time, without disturbing or inhibiting each other.
8. Montessori classroom.
It is completely different from classroom in state schools or kindergartens.
Montessori classroom contains different zones:
- Zone of real life. Here children learn to dress, wash, clean, mix, cut, paint, etc. Children develop large and small motor skills, as well as concentration.
- Sensory development zone. Here children learn about the world around them (distinguish weight, color, height, length of objects, etc.), learn to understand and distinguish size, shape and color, learn to follow the eyes from left to right, which helps to master reading.
- Zone of mental development of the child. Study of languages, geography, mathematics, natural sciences.
- Zone of moving exercises. At the zone, a circle is drawn on the rug or on the floor, which is used for exercises to develop balance and coordination of movements, as well as attention.
The child chooses the area and the specific Montessori material he/she wants to work with. He/she can work alone or with other children, and also usually makes this choice by himself/herself. And the teacher helps the child to organize their activities.
With the help of Montessori method, the child develops logical thinking, attention, creativity, memory, imagination, fine and gross motor skills. The Montessori method helps to master communication skills, as well as elements of household activities that promote independence.
Early child development is not a fashion, but a necessity. And the Montessori method, based on respect for the child, will help to grow a free, harmonious and well-developed person.