Maria Montessori, an Italian doctor, founded the Montessori practice of learning in the early 1900’s. Since then it has continued to grow in popularity all across the globe because of its ability to guide children to become cooperative, lifelong learners. The leading principal of this style of teaching and learning is a child-centered model as opposed to the traditional teacher-centered one that most schools implement. Montessori classrooms are crafted to be an ideal space for the children in the age group that they serve. For instance, the tables, chairs and shelves are smaller for younger children. Everything is extremely hands-on, and it isn’t a teacher in front looking out at rows of desk type of environment. The teacher facilitates a bond with each student, but acts as more of a guide to their own individual learning. Students use their own interests to learn and in doing so get a much more individualized education.
1. Children Learn Self-Discipline
While discipline is a part of the traditional classroom setting, Montessori highlights the importance of self-discipline. This sets students up to live a life in which they are better able to understand the decisions of those around them, as well as how to cope with the many problems that will come their way. Studies have shown the positive impact that children who are taught self-discipline have with higher life satisfaction.
2. Students Are Able To Be Creative
The classroom in a Montessori school is peaceful, beautiful and useful to the children. Because everything is their level it allows children to have the freedom to make their own decisions while learning. There are no constraints to how they can use the space to feed their creativity.
3. Everything is Hands-On
Hands-on-learning keeps students engaged, interested and craving more! The idea of learning by doing gives students the most interactive learning environment possible, it also mimics many real-work situations they will encounter. Because students use their hands to understand topics their whole brain is being activated making it easier for this information to transfer to long-term memory.
4. Intrinsic Motivation
Teaching children to be intrinsically motivated sets them up for a lifetime of not being concerned with just making money and external factors. It teaches them to value a greater purpose and meaning in their life. Intrinsically motivated individuals are shown to have better inner confidence and not care as much what others think about them.
5. Better Social Interactions
Maria Montessori herself explained this point brilliantly: “ "Social life does not consist of a group of individuals remaining close together, side by side, nor in their advancing en masse under the command of a captain like a regiment on the march, nor like an ordinary class of school children. The social life of man is founded upon work, harmoniously organized and upon social virtues - and these are the attitudes which develop to an exceptional degree amongst our children. Constancy in their work, patience when having to wait, the power of adapting themselves to the innumerable circumstances which present themselves in their daily contact with each other, reciprocal helpfulness and so on, are all exercises which represent a real and practical social life and which we see, for the first time, being organized amongst the children in a school. In fact, whereas schools used to be equipped only so as to accommodate children, seated passively side by side, who were expected to receive from the teacher (we might almost say in a parasitic manner), our schools, on the contrary, have an equipment which is adapted to all those forms of work which are necessary in an active and independent little community. The individual work in which the child is able to isolate himself and to concentrate, serves to perfect his individuality and the nearer man gets to perfection, the better is he able to associate harmoniously with others. A strong social movement cannot exist without prepared individuals, just as the members of an orchestra cannot play together harmoniously unless each individual has been thoroughly trained by repeated exercise when alone."
6. Love of Learning
Montessori schools recognize that learning doesn’t just end once you leave the classroom. They prepare students to love learning and always be searching to learn more, even once they enter in the workforce. Evidence also shows that having an active and engaged brain is key in not only having a better outlook on life, but also can fend off different mental and physical diseases that may come up later in life.
Children are encouraged in all aspects of school life to be independent, whether that’s by putting on their own jacket, deciding on their own school projects, or washing their dishes after they eat. The skills that young children gain by being independent are possibly some of the most important. Independence helps children gain confidence. The more they are able to do things on their own, the more they will feel capable to gain even more skills.