Tenets of Child Development

Source: montessorimallorca.org

FREE CHOICE

Learning and well-being are improved when children have a sense of control over their lives. Although Montessori programs impose definite limits on this freedom, children are free to make many more decisions than are children in traditional classrooms: what to work on, how long to work on it, with whom to work on it, and so on.

ORDER

Recent research in psychology has proven that order in the environment is indeed very helpful to learning and development. Montessori classrooms are very organised, both physically (in terms of lay-out) and conceptually (in terms of how the use of materials progresses).

INTEREST

Your gut feeling is right: Research has shown that when people learn with the goal of doing well on a test, their learning is superficial and quickly forgotten. Children (and yes, adults, too) learn better when they are interested in what they are learning.

LEARNING FROM PEERS

Children in Montessori classrooms learn by imitation models, through peer tutoring, and in collaboration. In mixed age classes, younger children learn from older ones by asking them questions while watching them work. Older children who are teaching younger children repeat and consolidate their knowledge and skills and obtain social skills.

MOVEMENT

Our brains evolved in a world in which we move and do, not a world in which we sit at desks. Movement and cognition are closely entwined. Education, therefore, would involve movement to enhance learning.

CONTEXT

Rather than learning largely from what teachers and texts say to them, children in Montessori programmes learn largely by doing. Because they are doing things, rather than merely hearing and writing, their learning is situated in the context of actions and objects. For example, children go out of the classroom and into the world to research their interests.

TEACHER GUIDANCE

Montessori teachers provide clear limits but set children free within these boundaries. They sensitively respond to children's needs while maintaining high expectations. This kind of 'authoritative parenting' seeks a middle ground between a traditional, authoritarian attitude ("Do it because we say so") and an overly permissive, child-centred approach of other progressive schools.