¿WHAT IS THE MONTESSORI SYSTEM?

The Montessori educational system was developed in Italy in 1907 by Dr. Maria Montessori based on the humanist philosophy that defends the uniqueness of each child, with concern for his/her development by respecting his/her dignity and individuality.

In Montessori, we carefully observe each child so that we can better understand and care for his/her needs and developmental stages. By providing an atmosphere of freedom and respect for his/her enfoldment, we stimulate each child to learn, explore, experiment and discover things at his/her own pace.

Within the Montessori system, children are guided towards becoming independent, responsible, self-confident and self-sufficient (being able to survive and function without the immediate help of others).

Freedom and movement are very important values for Montessori, but we encourage freedom with responsibility and discipline by establishing clear limits. Structure, order and limits are necessary for the child to reach harmony, self-development, conscience and independence. The main goal of the structured and ordered environment is to show the child and external order that will lead him to an internal order.

CLASSROOMS OR ENVIRONMENT

Classrooms are also called "prepared environments." They are spacious and bright spaces that invite movement, respecting the child's vital space.

We have shelves with materials and child-sized furniture to attract their attention and respond to their physical and emotional needs.

Prepared environments are like a small 'society' because children learn to organize, participate, help and respect one another while doing activities and working by themselves, under the attentive supervision of their guide (teacher).

In each classroom, there are children of different ages, and this helps stimulate the younger children to observe the older children's work. This reaffirms the knowledge and the spirit of collaboration of the older children, as well, because they like to take care of and explain things to the younger ones.

FREEDOM AND LIMITS

Maria Montessori called this environment, where the child chooses the activity he/she wishes to do, 'sensitive periods.' The amazing faculty of the senses that the child has can be lost if the teacher or adult is unable to understand the need for the child to choose his/her own activity.

Once the child chooses by himself, he begins to become responsible for this choice, exercising his will power; therefore, he begins to know what he really wants.

Inside the freedom that the child is given, there are 4 principal limits:

  • Collective Interest: The child is not allowed to act or do something that destroys the order, peace, concentration or work of others (self-respect and respect for others).
  • Know the specific use of the material: Before choosing a material, the child must know what he/she wants to do with this material, exercising in this way his will and responsibility.
  • Correct use of the Material: : The use of the material has an intelligent goal, and each material is designed for a particular purpose. It follows a certain sequence and its repeated use allows the child to progress and reach self-perfection.
  • The amount of the Material in the environment is limited:In the classroom, there is only one set of each type of material. This helps the children develop respect and patience as they wait their turn.

GUIDES ( TEACHERS )

The guide has to know when to intervene and when to stand aside, letting the child act alone, because the guide knows that unnecessary help could interfere with the child's development.

The guide serves as a link between the children and the Montessori material.

In our school, we pay special attention in choosing our guides. They have to be kind, nice, loving, and cheerful, use good manners and have completed professional training.

MONTESSORI MATERIALS

  • In the environment, the materials are organized into different areas.
  • Each material has a specific purpose and follows a logical sequence.
  • The material allows the child to gradually perform exercises with higher difficulty.
  • The Montessori material contains what we define as "mistake control," which allows the child to realize on his own if the material is being used in the wrong way.
  • Children learn to consider the mistake as a natural step in the learning process.
  • The material allows the formation of clear abstractions in the child's mind through concrete experiences.

    INFANTILE COMMUNITY ( from 1 to 3 years )

    The first years of a child's life are very important because this period is when his/her personality is formed. At this age, movement is vital, and in Montessori, we have adapted the environment for his/her development.

    With the material of the PRACTICAL LIFE area, children learn to respect and take care of themselves, others and their environment. They also develop fine and gross motor skills and self-conscience.

    With the material of the SENSORIAL area, they become conscious of their senses and learn to refine them (sensorial bases).

    In the LANGUAGE area, children will learn the vocabulary they will need in the near-future for reading, writing and mathematics.

    They also have individual and group activities that improve concentration, repetition, adaptation, cooperation etc.

    CHILDREN HOUSE ( from 3 to 6 years )

    At this age, children are still learning through activities, relationships and materials, which are designed to develop self-discipline, learning, independence, etc. Learning is attractive and stimulating.

    Children House has 4 principal areas:

  • Practical Life: Through exercises, the children learn to take care of the environment, themselves, and others. This helps to improve movement and is the foundation for writing and mathematics
  • Sensorial: This area allows the development of intelligence through the refinement of the senses with materials of different shapes, sizes, textures, colors, sounds, weights, smells, and tastes.
  • Mathematics: In the beginning, children learn mathematics in a concrete way. The children observe and explore with their senses; they touch and feel with their hands what is really happening in the mathematical process. This will help them build a solid foundation for math and geometry. Later on, they learn mathematics in an abstract way.
  • Language: These are exercises and materials that help to enrich vocabulary and start the process of reading and writing. The children discover the pleasure of reading, writing and self-expression.