Montessori-based learning refers to the use and creation of the hands, which instruct the intelligence. Through their work, the children develop a general foundation that includes a positive attitude, inner security and a sense of order, pride in the physical environment, abiding curiosity, a habit of concentration, joyful self-discipline, habits of initiative and persistence, the ability to make decisions, and a sense of responsibility to the group.
Children of this age possess what Dr. Montessori called the Absorbent Mind. This type of mind has the unique and transitory ability to absorb knowledge without effort or fatigue. The children progress at their own pace and rhythm, according to their individual capabilities. As an aid to the child’s self-construction, individual work is encouraged. The design of the environment is based on the principles of simplicity, reality, beauty, and order, a prepared environment where children are free to respond to their natural tendency to work. The children’s innate passion for learning is encouraged by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities with the guidance of a trained Directress. The following areas of activity cultivate the children’s ability to express themselves and think with clarity: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, and Cultural Extensions. The children are encouraged to think for themselves, to solve problems on their own and with others, and to have confidence in their ability to find solutions.
Childhood and On
In her observations, Dr. Montessori saw that children experience “windows of opportunity” as they grow. Montessori teachers match appropriate lessons and materials to these sensitive periods as their students develop – when learning is most naturally internalized and absorbed.
Montessori students in their early childhoods learn through sensory-motor activities – developing their cognitive powers through direct experience: movement, touching, seeing, hearing, and tasting. As the children progress through the elementary years, they continue to organize their thinking through work with the Montessori learning materials. They then use the interdisciplinary curriculum as they pass from the concrete to the abstract. It is at this time that they begin to apply their knowledge to real-world experiences.
This organization of information prepares the child for the next world – adolescence. This is when thought and emotion evolve into understanding more universal concepts such as freedom, equity, and justice.