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The Montessori Design in Education

In a Montessori school, a qualified and dedicated staff carefully prepares an environment in which children develop an increasing capacity for self-direction and expression. The school accommodates various stages of the child’s development, occurring in approximately three-year cycles.

smiling child at daycroftFrom birth to 3 years of age – The child absorbs directly from the environment. Many language and motor skills are acquired without formal instruction. The child works with manipulatives that foster concentration and coordination. Learning to complete a cycle of activity and being responsible for his or her own work helps the child develop independence.

child playing educational game at daycroftFrom 3 to 6 years of age – The child reaches a stage in which repetition and manipulation of the environment are critical to development of coordination, independence, and a sense of order. The child learns skills for everyday living—i.e., sorting, sequencing, and classifying—which lead to development of writing and reading abilities as well as a mathematical mind. The emphasis is on work to help build the child’s self-confidence. Cultural activities introduce the child to the concept of the geographical world beyond, and its interrelated parts: people, animals, and plants.

child putting together puzzle at daycroftFrom 6 to 9 years of age – In this phase of development, the child’s imagination is the key to learning. There is an increasing awareness of the world and an interest in its wonders. In the classroom, the child can now use his or her heightened sense of imagination to explore the universe. During this phase, the child is presented with “the big picture”—an overview of the interrelatedness of things. The curriculum shifts from the larger concept to the refined. Concepts are introduced through hands-on materials, which engage the child and encourage understanding of concepts before they are committed to memory.

child using microscope in science class at daycroftFrom ages 9 to 12 – As the child enters this phase, the world is ever-expanding. The imagination’s horizons increase and concepts may be presented and abstracted with fewer manipulative materials. The child’s activities broaden in scope and include practical application outside of the classroom. Projects become more involved and diverse, utilizing research and reporting skills.

“The Montessori approach to teaching allows my children to develop awareness that they are individuals who have value in their own right.”

—Barbara Ruwende, mother of Chi Chi and Yeukai

Throughout elementary school – The child works in an environment designed to develop a sense of community. The multi-age groupings lead to peer collaboration and cooperative learning. Children study the needs of man in all cultures and through all times to develop a sense of social order, an awareness of history, and the child’s place in it. The child’s growing perception of morality and the need for social skills is supported by a focus on character development and universal values promoting the happiness and success of humankind.

Follow the Child

Montessori teachers introduce students to learning material and exercises that are both compelling and developmentally appropriate. Your child chooses from the classroom shelves when he or she is ready. The classroom is filled with excellent choices.

Children innately desire to repeat lessons until they gain a sense of mastery. At times, your child may choose to return to a previously mastered activity to re-experience the confidence-building feelings that mastery provides. In these ways and more, the Montessori education serves to “follow the child.”

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