Montessori Preschool Programs: Everything You Need to Know
The Montessori Preschool Program is one of the most popular preschool programs initiated by Maria Montessori in Rome. This type of teaching is child-focused, and each child is encouraged to learn at their own pace. Also, instructors simply act as chaperones. In the Montessori preschool system, one classroom can be comprised of kids of varying ages. This could typically include kids aged 3 to 5 years. When they all work in the same room, the younger ones can learn from their elders, while the older children can develop a sense of authority and leadership.
Montessori preschool programs are based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning, and collaborative play. Teachers encourage children to decide what they want to learn and then offer them age-appropriate activities to guide them down the correct path. Thus, such programs encourage children to engage in psychological self-construction where they have to interact with their teachers and other children as well as their environments.
Montessori preschool programs usually have well-defined sections to encourage the children’s overall development. Thus, such programs will focus on:
· Mathematics: This helps the children learn about symbols, numbers, operations, sequences, and memorization.
· Language and arts: This covers oral language development, reading, writing, grammar, children’s literature, and creative dramatization.
· Sensorial area: This helps the children learn ways to classify and describe their sensory impressions. They will also learn different concepts of length, width, texture, temperature, color, mass, and pitch.
· Practical life: The children will learn how to care for themselves and the environment. They will also learn how to coordinate their physical movements and ways to be courteous.
· Culture: This is also a part of the integrated curriculum where children will learn the fundamentals of life science, geography, and history, along with music and creative arts.
In many Montessori preschool programs, nature is also a central theme, which is why the Montessori preschool classrooms or schools often have rock gardens, live plants, seashells, or other types of natural aspects within them.
Unlike play-based preschools that have unstructured and open-ended playtime, Montessori preschool programs feature structured, child-directed, active, self-paced, and individualized learning. Thus, children are allowed to choose activities that suit their interests and then work or play for uninterrupted time blocks. The teacher’s job is just to monitor and track the children’s progress while facilitating the use of materials they require. Such education aims to help children become more independent, self-confident, self-disciplined, and self-regulated.