The Montessori educational theory was based on how children are naturally curious about the world around them. Dr. Maria Montessori was a medical doctor who worked as a physician prior to becoming a teacher, observing that every child is different and has unique educational needs. She felt that traditional educational environments are more like children factories. The Montessori value system involves putting children in a proper learning environment. The Montessori educational system involves learning through all five senses, functioning within the belief that learning is a process of discovery that leads to concentration. Motivation is supposed to be something that leads to concentration and self-discipline.
The children are also placed into three-year age groups such as 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, etc. The older children are then meant to share their knowledge with younger children. Traditional education believes in placing children into their own peer group, and only their own peer group. In truth, there are 10 big differences between Montessori education and traditional educational environments. These differences are the prepared environment, active vs. passive, giving the children more time to complete assignments, the role the teacher is given, age groups and grade levels, adaptable curricula, the ability to pace oneself in the educational environment, self-made, self-esteem, a need to foster the love of learning, and embracing change.
The phrase “the prepared environment,” means that Montessori classrooms are prepared in advance based on the needs of the students that have been readily observed. This means that the students get student-centered lessons or activities to perform. In a traditional classroom, the focus is on the teacher, with the lessons and activities they bring to the student with expectations of completed written or read assignments.
The active and passive environment is something that separates a Montessori classroom from a traditional environment. Montessori lessons are hands-on, where students discover information for themselves.
Montessori classroom is also different from traditional classrooms in that students are given all the time they need to complete the lessons they are given. In traditional classrooms, they have a set amount of time to finish their lessons unless a block schedule is given, which then gives students more time.
A Montessori teacher feels they are more like a guide or consultant than a teacher who tells kids how to learn, and what to do. They devise a learning path for each child, with the pace and order of each lesson matching that of the child. The traditional environment determines the exact same pace for each child, who is expected to keep up, even if they are having trouble. At Carrollton TX Montessori Schools, the student determines the pace of the educational environment they wish to take. The Montessori school prides themselves on making sure that each student’s needs are taken care of, with their own pace determined for themselves. Montessori also feels that self-esteem does not come from external judgment and validation, but rather pride in accomplishments.
At Montessori, an attempt is made to make sure that students have a love of learning, without focusing on testing or grades both of which come from the requirement that information should be memorized. Montessori students are expected to have hands-on learning experiences, sometimes while working groups or individually. There is no coercion in a Montessori learning environment, which means that students make a choice as to what subjects they are interested in learning, while not being forced to participate in the environment that is prepared for them. Research has shown that Montessori students are still prepared for other educational environments later in life while scoring well on standardized tests and being able to participate in other educational environments.