While Montessori education is more than 100 years old, its foundational principles are more relevant than ever in the 21st century. With a curriculum designed around independence and self-reliance, a Montessori education is ideal preparation for the world today. As technology develops, greater value is placed on human problem-solving, creative thinking and collaboration—all among the fundamental skills each child develops at Pennington Montessori preschool.
The Montessori preschool classroom is not only a place for individual learning, but is also a vibrant community where the child learns to socially interact in a variety of ways. The three-year age range in every class enables older children to teach the younger children, showing how both are able to learn from this experience. With such a variety in the classroom, each child can work at his or her own pace, unhindered by competition and encouraged by co-operation.
Montessori materials are beautifully handcrafted and are displayed on low, open shelves. These unique materials are tools to stimulate the child into logical thought and discovery. Each piece of material has a specific purpose and is presented in a manner that will enable them to direct their own learning. They present one concept at a time and show the child a “control of error” when something has been done incorrectly. This self-evident method teaches the child to learn with increasing independence and responsibility. Everything is child-sized, and all of the activities are within reach to allow free choice.
Montessori takes a non-traditional approach to a child’s educational and social development, including the physical learning space, teacher-student relationship, instructional methods and more.
|Cognitive, social, emotional and moral development emphasis||Social development emphasis|
|Teacher prepares the environment with learning materials||Teacher is center of classroom discussion|
|Emphasis on inner discipline||Teacher is primary enforcer of discipline|
|Mainly individual instruction||Group and some individual instruction|
|Mixed age group||Same age grouping|
|Much teaching is peer teaching and modeling||Most teaching is done by the teacher|
|Curriculum is structured for each child||Curriculum is structured for whole class|
|Child internalizes concepts through exploration of educational materials||Child is taught concepts by the teacher|
|Child is self-paced and usually continues with an activity for an extended time||Child is generally allotted specific instructional time|
|Child sets own learning pace||Group sets learning|
|Child identifies own errors from self correcting educational material||Teacher identifies errors|
|Learning is reinforced internally by individual’s repetition with learning materials and an internal feeling of competence||Learning is reinforced externally by group repetition|
|Multi-sensory learning materials for physical exploration||Paper and pencil approach to learning|
|Purposeful movement in the classroom is encouraged and believed to be an aid to learning||Child usually assigned own chair; encouraged to participate, sit still and listen during group sessions|