Teaching in a Montessori Classroom
Montessori classrooms are calm and happy places designed to meet the developmental needs of each child.
They contain areas for children to learn and interact, in a variety of ways: individually, in pairs, small or large groups, inside and outside the room, at tables or on the floor. The environment is scaled to the child’s size, this includes the furniture and the Montessori materials themselves. The environment is ordered, beautiful and naturally light. The Montessori materials are displayed in such a way to entice the child into activity. Guided by the Director, the child explores the material and this is when the learning takes place. There is no focal point in a Montessori environment; this reflects that the adult is not the focus of the children’s attention, but that they are all part of a micro community of learners. Children are free to engage with activities according to their interests and work at their own pace. You will see children at work independently, in small groups or in a presentation with the Director. Children have this freedom, unrestricted unless they require gentle guidance.
Montessori children are taught how to regulate their own social interactions. Through role playing activities and appropriate modelling from the adults who work with them. The Director calmly demonstrates the best way to respond in new situations or to differences of opinions. This demonstration, referred to as Grace and Courtesy, gives the child the ability to act confidently and appropriately when the situations arise. These demonstrations or lessons are recalled by the children when needed. Because of these lessons in Grace and Courtesy, you will see children move freely throughout the environment, discussing and resolving any issues they encounter, often without the need of an adult to become involved.
Montessori education reframes the adult/child relationship. This relationship places the child at the centre of their own learning. In a Montessori classroom, the Director respects the children as unique individuals.
Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and the greater possibilities of their future.
The Director guides children to respect themselves, other people and the objects in their environment, and as the child grows they develop appreciation for the wider community and ultimately become global citizens.