"Help me do it myself" captures the essence of the child’s mission in the Montessori classroom. Mastery of motor skills, harmony with their environment and an understanding of their world are the goals they are striving for. At a very young age, children exhibit a need for order, routine, language acquisition and purposeful activity. The Montessori environment is prepared to specifically meet those needs. As the child moves through the environment, they begin to internalize concepts through concrete experiences. Work is displayed in an orderly sequential way with careful attention to aesthetics. Lessons are given individually and in small groups. The child gains mastery of concepts through repetition. The materials are designed to be self- correcting, so the child discovers their errors independently, and learns through trial and error. This environment creates the magic of learning through independent thought, and allows the child to thrive.
The teacher in the Montessori classroom has a unique role. She has prepared herself through extensive training in observation. To her falls the responsibility of preparing the environment to meet the needs of her children. She must be flexible and ready to adapt the environment to the specific needs of the children she teaches. She observes the children daily. She honors their inner directive by not interrupting the child at work. She establishes an environment that encourages freedom within limits. As the children internalize these ground rules, self-discipline emerges. The respect of the environment and of the children as modeled by the teacher is key to this development. Initially, she is the role model for the children, and soon, they become role models for each other.
All areas of the classroom are available to the children. Math, Sensorial, Language, and Science concepts are taught through use of concrete materials. Through their hands, their minds understand and their excitement is exhilarating. “I did it!” is the child’s exclamation when they have mastered a challenging concept they have been working on. This is the moment when development of self-esteem and awareness occurs. From this point on, the child is ready to move forward in their development to greater challenges. This is the primary work of the child. It comes from deep within and it is to be respected and cherished. Through this self-discovery, the child builds character.
The Montessori Method promises to be a rich and exciting experience for you and your child. These early years are precious and vital. Enjoy this time with your child and share in the experience.