The Montessori Method centers on the premise that a child carries within himself/herself the man he/she is to become in the future. In order for this creation to develop properly, a child must be given the freedom to explore and discover in an environment without obstacles. A Montessori classroom provides this opportunity with a prepared environment that incorporates self-correcting materials in a multi-aged setting. The materials are organized on the shelves according to their level of difficulty. The directress, or teacher, acts as a guide who connects the child to the material and facilitates an interest that will lead to new ideas and discoveries with the materials.
Montessori believed a child passes through sensitive periods where he is able to focus on one particular aspect of the environment, while ignoring all others. The directress must observe and recognize these stages to know when a child is ready to absorb a new concept. Between the ages of 3-6, a child is developing his sensory, fine motor and gross motor skills, as well as continuing to perfect all of the language he has acquired from the ages of 0-3.
In the prepared montessori environment the materials in the different areas create the curriculum. Children develop their skills using and practicing with the varied materials.
The specific skills of each area build upon each other and are interrelated to and dependent on skills learned in other areas of the classroom. This connection enhances children’s natural interest in and enthusiasm for learning.
Each child progresses at his or her own individually appropriate pace, allowing each to be appropriately challenged and to become proficient in each area according to individual development and needs.