Chapter 5: A little history lesson!

Sreevarenya J -

Good Morning Everyone!

This week’s blog post will go into a little history on the Montessori education system and how it was created! In case you didn’t already know my site placement is at Guidepost Montessori so it has been interesting learning about what a Montessori curriculum entails and how it is put into practice. 

This education style was first created in 1906 by Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician, who wanted to create an environment/childcare center catering toward lower class parents in San Lorenzo, Rome. 

Dr. Montessori observed that while at first the children were unruly and misbehaved often, they later showed great interest in working with puzzles, learning to prepare food, and keep their environment clean. The main thing that she saw was that the children absorbed knowledge from their surroundings, essentially teaching themselves. 

Although initially the Montessori system was used only in Europe, the first Montessori school opened in 1911. In the U.S. alone, approximately 5,000 Montessori schools now serve over one million children, from infancy through adolescence. 

Montessori schools in the US serve the communities specific needs: for example for parents that work late and are not able to come pick their kids up at 3 or 4, Montessori allows for extended stay as late as 6 pm. The school that I volunteer at serves toddlers from 16 months through grade 8 middle schoolers.

There are also Montessori classrooms that are bilingual, immersive-language, and programs specifically for children with learning exceptionalities, such as those associated with dyslexia and language-processing disorders.

But the biggest difference that I have personally noticed while serving as a volunteer was that every single classroom was neat and well put together. The children were guided and asked to do certain things pertaining to what they were learning but nobody was forced or mandated. Specifically for the elementary schoolers, each student had their own curriculum and tasks they had to finish, but they got to choose when to do what. Some kids preferred doing math more and wanted to finish all of their mad minutes while other kids liked reading and decided to write a book. 

Although the teacher worked only with the students with lesson plans for the day, the teacher was aware of what everybody was doing and helped them accordingly. This allowed the children more autonomy and they learned how to divide their own time. This is also seen in the younger kids where they are asked to “get a work to do”  i.e. playing with sensory materials or solving a puzzle. I hope you learned something new and interesting today.

Thank you for reading!

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