Montessori teaching has several differences in foundational concepts from traditional teaching methods. One of its most basic differences is that this method of teaching breaks students into three Montessori educational programs based on children’s developmental stages (as opposed to age) moving from concrete learning to more abstract learning, with schools typically working with children from 3-12 years of age. But the application of the Montessori method in teaching has many more nuanced deviations that work together to create an environment that is characterized by guided exploration and unhindered curiosity - key components in cultivating a child’s life-long love of learning.
Guidance, instead of direction
Montessori teachers take on a different role in the classroom than teachers in more traditional education settings. They are asked to observe and guide children as the students explore the learning environment. This encourages children to take ownership of their own learning, as opposed to being passive passengers on a journey of the teacher’s creation, which may not fit every student’s needs or interests. This approach to teaching allows children to pursue the lesson or activity in a way that makes sense for them in that moment in their education, and build upon it to develop their own learning methods. The independence and autonomy that is cultivated through this process helps children later in their education and life to have confidence in their ability to learn on their own and to value and pursue self-directed learning.
Curiosity, instead of uniformity
An important characteristic Montessori teachers look to foster is curiosity. This characteristic is not only central to the relationship between the teacher and the student, as it is the child’s curiosity that indicates for the teacher when and how to guide the student through lessons and activities, but curiosity is also important for the dynamic of the classroom as a whole. Within the philosophy of Montessori schools lies the belief that each child has unique abilities and interests, and it is the task of the teacher to determine what these are for each student, and let that inform how the students and teachers all work together in the learning environment. For example, instead of moving every student from math to language to story time and so on every 45 minutes without flexibility, a Montessori teacher may observe that some students are immersed in math and may encourage them to continue their work, or for the child to teach another student who also expresses interest in that activity, or for the teacher to introduce a more challenging learning tool or activity in the same subject. The students’ curiosity acts a compass, and it allows them to explore together with teachers and peers in a dynamic way.
At Hill Point Montessori, our teachers use the Montessori method to foster and encourage ongoing learning in students, both inside and outside of the classroom. Montessori education allows teachers to highlight student’s unique abilities while guiding them to learn new skills. Schedule a tour today and visit one of our classrooms.