Email Sign Up
Mixed-aged grouping, rather than grouping children solely by grade, allow for children to teach one another, be role models, leaders, and learn to observe. This mixed-aged group allows each child’s strengths to contribute to the community. Children can watch each other to gain a foundation for a future challenge or to prepare for their own hands-on experiences. Older children benefit by being leaders to the younger students. They see themselves grow into the role models that they looked up to during their first years in the classroom.
Additionally, Montessori education is deliberately based on the developing brain of the child, rather than the age of the child. Our classrooms are divided into developmental “planes” (primary-aged, elementary-aged, and adolescent), rather than by date of birth. The materials used in the classrooms are designed specifically for the neurological and developmental stage for each mixed-age group.
An Integrated Presentation of Subject Matter
Instead of presenting subject matter in isolated blocks of instruction, the a Montessori education provides an integrated and interdisciplinary approach to learning. This allows the student to realize the connections between subjects and the ripple-effect of learning a new skill, as it feeds into the next challenge.
An Emphasis on Unobtrusive Guidance
A Montessori teacher, or directress, will present lessons to the child in the classroom, then step back to allow the child to work without intrusion. While Montessori classrooms stress self-regulation and self-direction, the directress is constantly observing, guiding, and modeling desired behaviors and activities.
The Self-Directed Child Using Self-Correcting Feedback
Unlike a conventional education setting, wherein examinations, grades, and feedback from the instructor are the means by which students assess their worth, Montessori children are themselves the arbiter of their success. Montessori materials are specifically designed to allow for feedback, allowing a child to see their own errors and immediately try again. Children do not look for the instructor for enforcement or acceptance; they find it within themselves and the materials with which they work. The constant self-correction from the materials teaches the student that mistakes are part of the learning – and life – process, to be celebrated for the lesson learned.
In addition, because students are challenging themselves not for grades or accolades, students collaborate, rather than compete. Cooperation, problem-solving, and an understanding of different personalities is the end-result, rather than a reliance on outside feedback and competition.
Independence Leading to Self-Worth and Confidence
One of the largest differences between a Montessori education and a conventional education is that in a Montessori school, students are allowed – encouraged – to learn at their own pace, independently, and through hands-on activities. The child sets the pace for his own work, allowing him to take the time needed for repetition and true learning.
Above all, an enormous weight is placed on independence, self-care, and working within the stage of the child’s development. Dr. Montessori believed that this independence and ability to care for themselves allows the child to develop a sense of empowerment and self-worth, which leads to taking on additional challenges and skill mastery – all without waiting for the rest of the class.