Developed nearly 100 years ago by Dr. Maria Montessori, the teaching philosophy that bears her name is a strong presence in today’s child education landscape. Among the hallmarks of the Montessori method are the various ways that its students become purpose-driven and self-reliant. How does the Montessori philosophy foster such confidence and independence in its students?
Utilizing a child-driven instruction model (instead of teacher-driven), the Montessori philosophy empowers children to pursue their own interests, dictate their own daily schedule, and even mentor other children. This unorthodox class structure fosters independence in students and builds confidence.
A cornerstone of the Montessori education is empowering children to think for themselves and act in a self-assured manner in ways that conventional schools do not. It all boils down to key philosophical principles. Here is everything you need to know about how the Montessori teaching platform develops confident and independent children.
How Montessori Philosophy Fosters Student Confidence and Independence
That schools adhering to the Montessori philosophy of teaching are able to foster confidence and independence in their students is no accident. After all, nurturing a desire to learn and instilling self-reliance in children are among the primary objectives of this unorthodox system of instruction.
Here is a closer look at how the Montessori method produces students who are self-confident and independent-minded.
Children Are Empowered To Take Ownership of Their Education
One of the hallmarks of a Montessori classroom is how children are empowered to exercise decision-making authority with respect to key facets of their classroom experience, be it personal choices as to how to spend their time or deciding whether to join in a group activity with other classmates.
In other words, Montessori students are expected to take ownership of their education not just in relation to their personal progress but also that of their peers. This dynamic not only fosters independence on an individual level but perhaps, more importantly, a shared responsibility to maintain order in the classroom community with teachers serving more as guides than authority figures.
Montessori Classrooms Feature Prepared Environments
One of the signature aspects of the Montessori learning experience is the way that the traditional classroom is transformed into a student-centric space known in Montessorian parlance as the prepared environment.
In Montessori’s own words, the ideal atmosphere for teaching children is one in which “everything is constructed in proportion to [themselves]” and not one in which students must sit in chairs that are too big for their bodies, work at desks that are too large, and require assistance to retrieve materials that are out of their reach.
These are the key characteristics of a typical classroom in a Montessori school:
- The classroom and furnishings are all scaled in size to the age of the children
- This not only includes desks and chairs but also bookshelves
- All class materials, such as books, toys, and supplies, are all within view and reach of students
Through the use of prepared environments in their classrooms, Montessori schools provide welcoming and nurturing environments where students not only feel comfortable in their surroundings but are empowered to thrive in environments that are custom-tailored to their unique needs. This goes a long way toward enabling Montessori students to confidently carry on with the business of learning.
Montessori Learning Materials and How They Are Used
The Montessori system for the education of children emphasizes a multi-pronged set of objectives that goes far beyond meeting academic benchmarks. The emotional, social, and physical development of children is just as important in a Montessori setting as studying conventional school subjects like mathematics, language, and science.
This philosophy is evident in the learning materials that are found in the classrooms of Montessori schools, including:
- Real-world implements like scissors and gardening tools to expose the youngest of students to skill-developing activities
- Younger children are also introduced to learning materials that help to develop the five senses but focus on one specific sense at a time (i.e., one activity for working on the sense of hearing and another that focuses on the sense of touch)
- As student progress in the Montessori system, they are eventually exposed to conventional academic subjects like language arts (first by learning to write the alphabet) and mathematics (starting with single-digit numbers)
Children who are enrolled in Montessori programs are the beneficiaries of an educational approach that focuses on well-rounded instruction that extends beyond traditional academics. Montessori students are allowed to progress at their own pace with learning materials that correspond to their developmental stage, and along this journey, they develop confidence in their abilities.
Children Are Granted Freedom Within Limits
Another trademark feature of the Montessori teaching philosophy is the concept of granting students freedom within limits. This unique concept refers to the free rein that is afforded to children in allowing them to pick and choose which activities they want to participate in, with the only restriction being that classroom rules must be followed at all times.
Accountability in the Classroom
Because Montessori students are empowered to take ownership of the pace of their education, they are also held accountable for the progress they make and the benchmarks they reach. While their teachers monitor individual needs and provide guidance when needed, it is the children’s responsibility to perform self-evaluations.
Over time, the process of self-assessment trains students to turn a critical eye to their own work and turn errors into learning opportunities, and children become more independent and confident in the knowledge that by persevering through adversity, not only can they learn from their mistakes but build upon them as well.
The Frisco Lakes Montessori School Difference
With programs geared toward infants (6 weeks to 17 months), toddlers (18 months to 36 months), and primary students (3 years to 6 years), Frisco Lakes Montessori upholds the virtues of the Montessori system and utilizes its innovative teaching methods to serve families in the Frisco, TX area through its two campuses, Frisco Lakes Angels Academy and Frisco Lakes Children’s Montessori.
The Montessori philosophy is a departure from conventional teaching methods, but like the many notable graduates who have gone on to become thought leaders in their respective fields, this unorthodox approach has redefined the landscape of childhood education.