What is Montessori?
From its beginnings in Italy in the early twentieth century, the Montessori approach to education has spread throughout the world. It is based on the observation that children are intrinsically motivated to develop themselves.
Maria Montessori was a leading thinker in education whose ideas were, in many ways, ahead of their time. She was born in Chiaravalle, Italy, in 1870, and became one of that country’s first female physicians in 1886. In clinical observation through her medical practice, she studied how children learn. To further understand this phenomena, she studied psychology and philosophy. Shortly afterward, she gave up her medical practice and university professorship to begin the first Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House, in the San Lorenzo neighborhood of Rome. In teaching these sixty children, she developed the philosophy, methods, and materials that would eventually become known as the Montessori approach.
Montessori classrooms are typically organized in three-year age-spans.Dr. Maria Montessori considered her method to be a help to the life of the child more than a system of education or cognitive development. When she first studied young children, Montessori observed that they went through sensitive periods during which they showed special aptitude for certain kinds of developmental activity. These periods are especially pronounced in the development of movement, order, language, music, fascination with small objects, and bonding or attachment.
Sensorial and motor development are the child’s means of exploration in the early years. She believed that a child’s independence would grow from choosing his activities wisely and with the help of an adult. In addition, cooperation with others and responsibility for group tasks is emphasized, as it instills important values that are derived from working with others.
Children become self-regulated through concentration on stimulating self-chosen tasks that they can pursue individually or in groups. The Montessori approach encourages self-discipline, self-knowledge, independence, academic skills,
The Montessori approach encourages self-discipline, self-knowledge, independence, academic skills, problem-solving ability, and an enthusiasm for learning.
Community meetings are used to build a student-centered learning community in the classroom and within the entire student body. The students gather in a circle where they have a clear view of everyone. This type of group setting represents a symbol of unity. The activities used during the meetings are used to enhance the social and emotional development of children. Children learn how to behave properly in a group setting and will soon learn to value each individual within the group. This is a perfect time for children to gain an understanding of their feelings as well as others. They learn how to respectfully communicate with their peers.
The teacher is aware of the needs of his/her students and will plan community circles to meet their needs. The teacher and students establish ground rules during several meetings at the beginning of the school year. Eventually, the teacher steps away from the lead role, and the meetings are led by a student. Maria Montessori said, "When dealing with children there is a greater need for observing rather than probing."
During the community meetings, the students use problem-solving skills when role-playing and discussing conflict and resolution. Sometimes they discuss problems that may arise in the classroom and share ideas on how to resolve them. A community meeting is a time to celebrate student accomplishments. It also gives students the opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate others' kind deeds. Community meetings are a wonderful way to establish a respectful, collaborative classroom environment.
Montessori Peace Education
"Establishing peace is the work of education." Maria Montessori
The staff, students, and parents of Community Montessori School strive to eradicate conflict and create peaceful children, peaceful schools, and a peaceful world. The strong commitment of educators, parents, and the entire community empowers us to create environments where children truly feel safe and motivated to learn. Our staff recognizes that "peace" needs to be consciously taught and actively lived in our everyday lives. We promote peace and actively teach our children to respect themselves, their peers, their teachers, and their environment. It is our philosophy, as Montessori educators, to prepare our students for life. Peace education embodies and reinforces the state's standards of peaceful resolution to conflict and understanding of good decision making for everyday living.