The learning materials in a Montessori School have been designed to provide a wide variety of learning experience geared to the developmental needs of preschool and kindergarten age children. The programmed activities involving the handling, manipulating, and working with the materials prove to be fascinating and absorbing for the young child. When engaged in well-structured tasks, children experience a deep inner satisfaction which leaves them with an overall positive attitude toward everything connected with school.
SPECIFIC GOALS FOR CHILDREN ATTENDING A MONTESSORI SCHOOL
- Developing in each child a positive attitude toward school. Most of the learning activities are individualized; i.e. each child engages in that learning which has a particular appeal to him or her… because he/she finds the activity geared to his/her needs and level of readiness. They work at their own rate, repeating the task as often as they like, experiencing a series of successful achievements. In this manner, they build up a positive attitude toward learning.
- Helping each child develop self-confidence as an independent learner. Many grade and high school pupils have difficulty in school because they do not have confidence in themselves. In a Montessori School, tasks are programmed so that each new step is built on what the child has already mastered. Success after success builds up an inner confidence, assuring the child that he/she can learn by himself/herself. These confidence building activities contribute to a child’s sound emotional development.
- Assisting each child in building the habit of concentration. Effective learning pre-supposes ability to listen carefully and to attend to what is said or demonstrated. Through a series of absorbing experiences, the child forms habits of extended attention. These habits increase the child’s ability to concentrate.
- Fostering in the child an abiding curiosity. In our rapidly changing society, all of us will have to be students all of our lives. A deep, persistent and abiding curiosity is a prerequisite for creative learning. By providing the children with opportunities to discover qualities, dimensions and relationships amidst a rich variety of stimulating learning situations, their natural desire to know is developed into a habit of being curious.
- Developing habits of initiative and persistence. By surrounding the child with appealing materials and learning activities geared to inner needs, he/she becomes accustomed to engaging in activities on his/her own. This generally results in a habit of initiative— an essential quality in leadership. “Ground Rules” call for completing a task once begun and for replacing materials after the task in accomplished. This expectation of completion gradually results in a habit of completion.
- Fostering inner security and a sense of order. Since every item in the Montessori classroom has a place and the “ground rules” call for everything being in its place, the child’s inner need for order is keenly satisfied. Gradually, the well-ordered environment develops a “sense of order” and the inner security basic to fostering sound emotional growth.
- Helping develop sensory motor skills through activities calling for amanipulation of a wide variety of specially designed apparatus. Intriguing tasks involving large and small muscles enable the child to gain increasing control over movements. Many of the tasks call for the type of muscular movement and control basic to developing skill in handwriting.
- Sharpening the ability to discriminate and judge. Sorting and matching activities challenge the child, calling for his/her noting similarities and differences in size, shape, color, texture, odor, sound, etc. — in short, sharpening sensory acuity. Thus the child’s senses learn to report more accurately the various qualities describing his/her expanding world.
- Helping the child develop socially. Through working with others, the child learns to cooperate with others. Through group oriented task in which “ground rules” limit impulsiveness, the child gradually develops an understanding of and appreciation for what is meant by “respect for others”.
- Helping the child develop creative intelligence and imagination. Opportunities are provided for the child to translate into movement: form, color, sound, and word, the inner awakening of his/her self. By harvesting thousands of clear perceptions from well-planned practical-life, sensorial, mathematical, music, art, language, science activities, the child acquires the “mental building blocks” needed later for grasping the meaning of words, ideas and concepts required for learning to read effectively.
In brief, the purpose of a Montessori School is to help each child develop the habits, attitudes, skills, appreciations and ideas which are essential to a lifetime of creative learning.