Early Learning and the Montessori method

 

Learning is a process we go through from the day we are born till the day we die.

As babies we learn to eat, sit, crawl, get attention. As toddlers we learn how to coordinate our bodies and interact with others. As preschoolers we learn to follow routine, engage in tasks, complete projects. And this process continues through our lifetime.

Most behavior patterns are based on previous experiences and people that have been schooled from early childhood achieve better in school, university and in general in life.  Montessori methods based education is considered one of the best in the world. But you will ask why? And what it is ? Here are some facts and explanations.

Maria Montessori was an Italian physician – in fact the first Italian woman doctor! She was working with children with disabilities and from disadvantaged backgrounds, that were considered mentally underdeveloped and with very slim chances of integration within the schooling system and the society. Through patience, observation and respect for the child Montessori proved that with the correct methods and given the sufficient time and attention those kids can not only integrate but excell !

Here are some of the basics of Montessori principles and how to implement them.

The prepared and orderly environment

Order in environment and creating routines is very important and beneficial to children. Start with practical life skills. Prepare objects that teach everyday skills like boxes and jars to open and close, beans to be spooned from plate to plate, colour sorting activity. Arrange those in trays or boxes.  Keep  work trays or boxes easily  accessible.

 

Create Interest

Interesting and new tasks engage children . By alternating their duties, introducing new activities or creating new tasks a child will be constantly engaged and interested. We learn better when we are interested in what we are learning.

Give a choice

These children have free choice all day long. Life is based on choice, so they learn to make their own decisions. They must decide and choose for themselves all the time…they cannot learn through obedience to the commands of another.

-Maria Montessori (1989, p.26)

Studies conducted with adults and children split into 2 groups prove that the group that has been given a choice of which task to start first and how to go about solving the problem performs better. Both groups were given identical tasks.

 

Movement and Cognitive development

Cognitive development is the construction of thought processes, including remembering, problem solving, and decision-making. The vestibular (inner ear) and cerebellar (motor activity) system is the first sensory system to mature. Performing tasks like sitting , crawling , walking or running means gathering an array of information, processing it, turning it into thoughts, plan of action and executing it. Activities that stimulate inner ear like swinging, jumping or rolling are integral part of the child’s development.