Principles of the Method
The whole child is educated: physical, social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual
The importance of the inter-relation between the different areas of development are emphasised.
The child is an active learner
- Spontaneous activity: the child chooses an activity - the equipment supports concrete learning
- The links in knowledge are built up step by step, i.e. education of senses to abstract thought
- Individual activity is encouraged as every child learns at a different rate
- The importance of the connection between the hand and the brain is emphasised.
- Children want to learn; they do not have to be motivated by external forces. Punishments and rewards are not used.
- Through the prepared environment the child is free to select his/her chosen activity; therefore he learns what he/she wants to learn, at his/her own pace. This spontaneous activity encourages self-direction and self-reliance.
- Concentration develops if a child is self-motivated.
Self-discipline is encouraged
- Self-discipline comes from allowing intrinsic motivation.
- The child is protected from adult and other children's intervention.
- The apparatus also encourages self-discipline - by completing an activity satisfactorily, the child feels rewarded and is encouraged to take on longer and more complex tasks, thus disciplining him/herself.
The environment affects the child's development
- The quality of the child's interaction with the environment affects development.
- The child learns from the environment.
- Adults and other children are part of the environment
There are Sensitive Periods in development
- A Sensitive Period is a short period of time when a child is completely absorbed by one aspect of the environment.
- Dr. Montessori was the first educator to identify these sensitive periods.
- Examples of sensitive periods: language, order, social aspects.
- From an educational point of view, if a child is in a sensitive period he/she is encouraged and allowed to follow it. His/her interest and concentration will not be broken.
A child-centred approach starting from what the child can do
- Through the prepared environment, the child builds on what he can do, gradually absorbing and accomplishing more and more skills and knowledge.
- The teacher is scienctific in his/her approach: he/she observes and keeps careful records so that he/she can plan appropriate activities to extend the child's horizon.
- The teacher guides and directs the child's activities.
- The teacher serves the child.
The inner life of the child is respected
- The child's dignity is respected.
- Tranquillity and peacefulness are encouraged.
- The classroom is often silent - silence is not imposed.
- Harmony, both externally and internally, are aimed at.
- The child's unique personality is allowed to develop naturally.
- The adults and the children with whom the child interacts are seen as crucial to the child's whole development.
- Children respect one another's efforts and help only when it is necessary, they are free from envy and anything well done in the class arouses their enthusiastic praise.
- Children are vertically grouped and as they are of different ages they help one another; the younger ones see what the older ones are doing and ask for help. The result is harmony and comunication between the ages.