There are 20,000 Montessori schools worldwide; the US with 8,000, the UK with about 600, and Canada with 1000. But besides these figures, do you know other cool facts about the Montessori Method? Whether you’re a teacher looking to practice the Montessori principles and methods or a parent planning to enroll your child to a Montessori school near you, these facts about Montessori schools will blow your mind.
1. Teachers are not taskmasters but they are observers and guides
If you would check out Montessori classrooms, you’ll feel different and amazed!
Montessori schools are progressive schools, so you might be disappointed if you’re looking to enroll your child to a traditional school in which teachers direct the classes. Instead of being taskmasters, teachers just observe and guide the students as they work in the Montessori setting.
The Montessori combines the learning triangle composed of the teacher, the student, and the environment.
The teachers prepare a learning conducive classroom that encourages freedom within limits, while implementing a sense of order and organization.
The students use the lessons and materials in the environment and work on the activities that will develop their personality and themselves as a whole individual. They approach and interact with their teacher if they need guidance and support.
2. Children choose and decide their lessons for the day
In a typical classroom setting, the teacher decides what to teach and what children will learn for the day.
It’s the opposite with a Montessori approach!
In a Montessori classroom, the teachers serve as guides who only observe the children on how they work and create an excellent and motivating learning environment. They don’t impose what to study for the day and lecture like in the traditional classroom setting.
Children pick and get their hands-on different activities called work. In one instance, they might be working on shapes on an alphabet puzzle floor mat, either alone or with other children. Then in another instance might be moving letters or building words out of those.
The Montessori approach uses a certain format based on each child not on all children. Every format guides a particular student with the correct lesson and materials, each building upon the previous lesson.
Nevertheless, the Montessori education is like no other.
Its philosophy “freedom within limits” encourages independence, preparing children for life skills, including social skills that will lead their way to a rewarding and fulfilling adulthood.
Students are free to move around once finished with their activities, encouraging independence and interaction with other children.
3. Montessori was established over 100 years ago
The Montessori Method has been around for more than 100 years, with the first school Casa dei Bambini opening in 1907.
Dr. Maria Montessori, Italy’s first female doctor, founded this system with the mission of providing low-income children in Rome with quality education.
But instead of a traditional teaching method, she introduced child-centered theories in the Children’s House.
She observed that students were engaged in their play and work; thus, she experimented and used another approach instead of the traditional method used in the elementary classrooms during her time.
She organized their day and classroom that could foster and encourage responsibility, self-discipline, and independence.
In the Montessori approach, children are the centre of everything, from the day’s flow to the materials used and to the desks and the entire space – it’s all for them.
She developed teaching materials in math, reading, and writing – all using the Montessori principles.
Soon, her approach captured the attention of other educators and leaders. Later, she launched the Montessori approach “The Method of Scientific Pedagogy Applied to the Education of Children in the Children’s Houses.”
4. The Montessori Method develops children and adolescents holistically (emotional, cognitive, physical, and social)
The century-old education system with a child-centred approach has been adapted to thousands of schools globally and for reasons.
Montessori classrooms are different, from the especially designed lessons and materials to the approach of learning.
In every classroom, you’ll see children are engaged working on activities in groups or independently. They work uninterruptedly with freedom but with limits!
5. Children don’t just play but they work
Playing with blocks or stringing beads and working on other activities, children might look like they’re playing all day but they’re not.
“Play is the work of the child.” – Dr. Montessori
Students learn better when they play. It is through playing that they learn and develop.
Learning comes naturally for children who are playing because this approach relaxes and motivates them better than lectures will.
The Montessori Method is designed to make learning fun. Seeing children playing doesn’t mean that they don’t learn anything.
For example, the alphabet puzzles that parents see students playing in the classroom are designed to help children learn the alphabet in the most fun way as possible.
Other lesson materials for Montessori teaching can include sound pouches for language and puzzles for science.
Every learning material plays a significant role in helping children understand and learn their lessons.
6. Dr. Maria Montessori didn’t trademark the name ‘Montessori’
Not all Montessori schools is a school that uses the Montessori system because they might not be following the methods and principles, as the founder introduced each to have.
A parent will only be able to know if they would ask the school with the right questions.
For example, did the teachers receive the proper trainings on the methods, concepts, and principles in Montessori?
According to the American Montessori Society, a program can be considered an authentic Montessori if the components of a program include guided activity choices, uninterrupted work time blocks, and multi-age groups that allow peer learning.
The learning environment is also aesthetically pleasing while being conducive to learning, and the materials are specifically designed, arranged properly, and easily available for students.
A school environment that uses the Montessori Method is also arranged per subject area, such as art, gardening, cooking, reading, and caring for animals.
Students don’t stay at their desks and are free to move around the room. They also don’t have limits as to how long they should work on something that they’ve chosen.
7. Montessori schools handle grading differently and don’t focus on grades and testing
Even if subjects like Math is inclined towards grading, like for math problems, most schools that adapt the system don’t use a typical grading method to measure for academic success.
It instead focuses on allowing students to develop and progress at their pace, while also being encouraged to learn in a way that applies and works for them.
Thus, Montessori schools put less emphasis on grades and don’t rely on traditional forms of assessing and measuring a student’s learning progress.
8. Montessori schools use well-thought learning materials
To develop the five senses of preschoolers, Dr. Montessori designed different sensorial materials, such as the broad or brown stair, cylinder blocks, coloured cylinders, and the pink tower, to name some.
For older children, Montessori schools use different discovery and learning activities, with teachers developing the materials in many cases.
When you enter a Montessori classroom, you’ll notice that the learning materials are placed in open and low shelves, allowing students to choose what they want to work on provided that those engage them.
And as they learn self-discipline, they return the materials they use to the shelf once they are finished working on them.
9. The Montessori Method emphasizes on role playing
Role playing is an essential pedagogical methodology of learning, according to a 2014 study published in the International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education “The Evaluation of Role-Playing in the Context of Teaching Climate Change.”
This method focuses on the learner’s developmental needs, including sense of responsibility and competency in the young learner’s mind, and fosters independence and a sense of responsibility.
Every student has a role to play, with the teacher guiding, not interrupting them while working.
The teacher gives clear instructions and materials that will prepare the students for the specific environment’s learning process.
Thus, the students do not need to their teacher’s expertise, only guidance, to achieve success.
10. Teachers Are Guides and Role Models
Children become more effective learners with role model teachers because they tend to imitate and follow the behaviours they observe, in this case their teachers’ behaviour.
One of the primary reasons is that they spend a lot of time with the students.
They are expected to possess good work ethics and show an exemplary attitude. That’s why teaching the Montessori way is not for all teachers. They should have the proper training to practice the Montessori principles, concepts, and methods.
We offer a variety of courses ranging from Introductory to Advanced which are all Montessori teaching courses. As well, our most recent introduction to foster a balanced mind is our Emotional Awareness courses both for the teacher and preschool children. Such courses can prepare teachers for the Montessori Method holistically, not just their mental but also emotional aspects.
Mindset courses, for instance, can provide them with tools to help them be more confident, calm, and fulfilled.
Register today for any of our courses!