The Montessori method views education as a preparation for life, not merely a search for intellectual skills. The emphasis in Montessori education is to teach the child how to learn. Every baby is born with the desire to know, the urge to explore, and the need to master the environment – in short, to achieve. The motivations for learning come from within the child. The child who accomplishes this moves into harmony with this world and becomes a whole person. With that in mind, the CCMPCS Montessori environment will be carefully prepared to train the senses, to stimulate curiosity, to satisfy the child’s need to know, and to provide a safe environment where every child can learn from successes as well as failures.
Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning.
The basic principles of the Montessori method are the following:
- Cognitive development follows a predictable progression from the concrete to the abstract. There are critical periods of time when children are most ready to acquire and develop certain skills. Educators must understand these levels and introduce material at times appropriate to the individual child.
- Academic, social, and emotional development are interdependent; education must concern itself with the development of the whole child.
- Every child has an inner drive to explore and discover the world; this innate curiosity will lead to productive learning if given the proper environment, resources, and guidance.
- Learning is most productive when self-directed and founded on individual interest.
- For younger students, learning is most effective when it takes place through direct sensory experiences and interaction with objects in their natural context.
- Information should be presented in a pattern of whole-to-part, and integrated through interdisciplinary study, so students can place it in context and understand how things are related.
- Learning must be enhanced and applied, especially in later years, by going out and doing relevant work in the community.