Montessori education and traditional methods

Montessori education focuses on learning via all of our five senses, not only through watching, listening, or reading. In the Montessori system, children learn in line with their own, personal pace and they can choose their own activities out of numerous options.

Learning the Montessori way is actually a highly exciting process of discovery that leads to love of learning, motivation, concentration, and self-discipline. At the Montessori method, children are placed in three-year age groups (3 to 6, 6 to 9, 9 to 12, etcetera). They will form communities where older children share knowledge and skills with younger kids spontaneously. The Montessori system represents a totally different approach to learning. Later in life, students will benefit when it comes to making the right career choices. See also this Career Cruising article.

Montessori Method

The Montessori schedule – The 3-hour work frame

Children younger than six will have just one or two three-hour, uninterrupted, work periods on each day. Older children will be scheduling their meetings with the teacher or study groups when necessary.

Both adults and children are respecting study concentration and will not interrupt other individuals who are working on a task. Groups may be formed spontaneously, or are set up by appointments. Hardly ever is there a need to correct children’s self-selected work.

Multi-age grouping

As said, children are put in 3-year groups of mixed ages and skills. This way, there will be a constant atmosphere of child-to-child interaction, socializing, and problem-solving. The children are challenged in line with their competencies and will never get bored. Montessori middle and high school teachers have usually taken several specialized courses and have graduated in relevant subject fields.

The educational setting is determined by subject areas, and the children can at all times move around the classroom freely rather than stay put at desks, and there is not a time limit to how long children can work with some piece of educational material. They can be studying the subject fields of language, math, history, science, art, geography, music, and so on, for as long as they want, where they want, and at all levels.

The Montessori Teaching Method

Teach through teaching, not through correcting

At the Montessori system, children will not get any papers back full of corrections and red marks. The children’s efforts are rather respected as they are. Teachers will be extensively observing the children and keep track of their achievements to come up with individualized plans and projects to allow all children to learn that what they need to improve.

At the Montessori system, the teaching ratio is one teacher, together with a non-teaching aide, to around 30 children, except for the 0-3-year-old’s where the ratio is mandated by local regulations.

The teachers are trained to focus on one child at a time while overseeing thirty or more students who work on a wide range tasks. Montessori teachers do not give assignments to their students nor do they dictate what the students must study or read. 

Basic lessons

Montessori teachers will spend much of their time during teacher training at practicing many lessons with study materials in various areas. All teachers must pass an oral and a written exam to receive necessary certification.

They are trained to especially recognize children’s readiness based on their competencies, skills, age, and interest in a specific subject. They are well-prepared to guide individual progress and come up with personalized study programs.

Montessori Study Areas

All study subject areas are interwoven with the Montessori system, and nothing is taught in isolation. For the children, the teachers are the person of broad interests, and they have the freedom to study any subject material at any time.

Montessori’s Great Lessons

Montessori’s Great Lessons are a unique and important element of the Montessori curriculum. These Great Lessons are exciting and bold, and have been designed to awaken a child’s curiosity and imagination. Children should be thrilled with new ideas, marvel at all wonders of creation and by the innovation and inventiveness which are essential elements of the human spirit.

These (5) Great Lessons will traditionally be presented during lower elementary classes (grades 1 to 3), and will be presented each year so the students are seeing them more than just one time. In the 3 to 6 environment children are first introduced to relatively ‘small’ ideas that will gradually grow into larger ideas, but at the elementary level, children will be introduced straight into large concepts, of which the largest is the beginning of our universe.

After they are shown the beginning of the universe, children can be shown in what way all sorts of smaller ideas are actually fitting into the large framework. There are traditionally five Great Lessons that will paint a broader picture before the children will move to more specific areas of study. The five Great Lessons are:

  • 1st Great Lesson – Coming of the Universe & the Earth
  • 2nd Great Lesson – Coming of Life
  • 3rd Great Lesson – Coming of Human Beings
  • 4th Great Lesson – Communication in Signs
  • 5th Great Lesson – The Story of Numbers