The Montessori experience is the result of the observations and genius of Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952). Upon graduation as the first woman medical doctor in Italy, Dr. Montessori became interested in the education and training of young children.
Dr. Montessori’s observations of children convinced her that each child carries within himself or herself the person he or she will become. Each child’s potential is reached through a process of striving, aided by a growing sense of order and self-discipline. Each child must be free to develop at his or her own rate. Montessori designed materials and techniques that allowed her students to work in a way previously considered beyond their capacity. Montessori quickly saw a new and valuable relationship develop within the classroom. No longer was the student dependent on the teacher. The child was now free to use the environment and other children as tools in his or her learning.
The teacher, through the study and observation of children, prepares the environment to attract the child. As the child is drawn toward learning, the teacher/directress is free to provide individual and small group lessons and to observe each child. In turn, each child is free to choose enticing work and repeat it continuously, if desired, until he or she is satisfied. Thus fostered at an early age, concentration, curiosity, independence and a love of learning become the cornerstones upon which the child’s confidence and competence as a learner are built. Montessori children grow learning, to observe, to think and to judge. Natural inquisitiveness and self-motivation become the roots from which the older child evolves and emerges as a socially confident and intellectually disciplined adolescent.
Dr. Montessori died in 1952. Today, after over 90 years of international application, the Montessori method thrives in throughout the world. In the United States, more than 4,000 schools have been established since 1957. In addition, national Montessori certification of teachers and school accreditation, through the American Montessori Society, is now available to ensure quality Montessori care and education.
At Blue Gems, our approach to learning uses the Montessori philosophy, which was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, who first studied children from a medical point of view. From her observations, she realised that the learning process for a human being begins long before the school entry age. Between 0 to 6 years the child has an absorbent mind and all the knowledge and experiences he or she acquires during these years are used as a base for further learning.
The mixed age group enables children to learn how to become part of, and contribute to, a group. Both older and younger children benefit from this contact since older children gain confidence and maturity through realisation of their own abilities, and younger ones are stimulated and encouraged by working alongside more advanced peers. Skills are taught daily, individually, in small groups and as a whole class. Records are kept on every child’s individual progress.
In the Montessori environment the child will develop a caring attitude to him/herself, those around, and their surroundings. He or she will be treated with respect as an individual and each child’s own particular needs will be cared for.
In this environment the child will be able to develop socially, intellectually, physically and emotionally at his or her own pace.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does the Montessori Method work?
In a Montessori classroom children learn at their own pace, using attractive materials that engage all of the senses. The multi-age classrooms encourage social interaction, and children learn respect for themselves, others, and their environment.
Do all Montessori schools follow the same curriculum?
Any school can use the name “Montessori,” but not all employ Montessori materials or follow traditional Montessori principles. At BGM, all our teachers are certified, Montessori-trained teachers, and the school is a full member of the American Montessori Internationale(AMI).
Is it true that Maria Montessori discouraged play?
On the contrary, Maria Montessori believed that play is the “work” of the child. You will hear Montessori teachers refer to activities in the classroom as “work,” but we use the term out of respect for the child, who is engaged in the important task of self-creation. Through play children try on new roles: they imagine what might be instead of what is; they develop creativity as they combine old elements in new ways, and they learn problem-solving skills as they work through difficulties. They also begin to consider the needs and perspectives of others. What you will not find in our classrooms are conventional toys, because preschoolers with elaborate props actually make fewer imaginative responses. We believe that making a train out of cylinder blocks offers more opportunity for true play than having a toy train on the shelf!
What kinds of creative outlets will my child have at BGM?
Creativity and playfulness go hand in hand, and we strive to provide activities that will engage and excite all the senses. Each classroom has an art area for children to draw, color, and paint. Music, Yoga , Water Play and Free play happen regularly.
How do you handle discipline?
Avoiding the extremes of prizes and punishments, our goal is to help the child understand why a particular behavior is harmful by considering its impact on others. We encourage children to resolve their conflicts by talking and listening to each other.
Will a Montessori education make my child smarter?
Maria Montessori said, “It is true that we cannot make a genius. We can only give to each child the chance to fulfill his potential possibilities.” Our ultimate goal is to help each child flourish as his or her unique personality emerges. There is growing evidence, however, that a Montessori education leads to greater social and academic success in later years.