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What is the Montessori Method about and is it better for children

If you’ve never heard of the Montessori Method of education, we’ll give you a brief rundown on it. If you’re well aware of it, you’ll be asking the same question we have: is it better for children?

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What is it?

The Montessori educational approach was developed by Maria Montessori based on years of experience with “special needs” children. It emphasises independence, freedom within safety constraints and the respect for the child’s physical, psychological and social development. The following elements are essential practices within the Montessori principle.

Essential practices

Mixed age classrooms are an important part of the child’s education. This means classes with you can find classes with 3 year olds mixing with 6 year olds. Giving the student a choice of activities within a prescribed limit is also an important part of this form of education. Uninterrupted blocks of work time which are ideally 3 hours long are commonly employed. A discovery model which teaches students new concepts through working with materials is important. This contrasts with other forms of education that rely on direct instruction. Freedom of movement within the classroom is important, but the most important element to a child’s education is a fully qualified Montessori teacher.

Pros

Ok, let’s start with the pros of this approach. There’s a tonne of teaching of maths and letters with this process. Lots of small group work means better focus and the mixed ages of the classrooms means that younger kids learn off the older ones, which accelerates their education.

Cons

This form of education is very expensive. It doesn’t focus on social interaction between children, and it doesn’t allow children to think creatively. By being child-focused rather than adult-led, some kids learn things slower than they would in a normal school. For example, studies show that children in Montessori schools sometimes don’t pick up a book until they’re 10 years old. In other schools the child will have started to learn reading at the age of 4.

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