The Montessori Classroom
The Montessori classroom is a special environment that you will not find in traditional schools. It is a peaceful, happy place designed to meet the developmental needs of each child in the early stage of life.
A Montessori classroom feels more like a home than a school. Inside a Montessori classroom, instead of seeing rows of desks with a teacher standing in the front of the room delivering a lesson to the whole class, you will see children happily working individually or in small groups, at tables or on the floor near small mats that delineate their own space. Everything inside a Montessori classroom is child-sized. Specially designed learning materials are displayed on low, open shelves and easily accessible to the children.
Teachers in a Montessori classroom gently guide students to help maintain the organization and cleanliness of this environment to keep it orderly and attractive, and to help your child understand how to care for materials and clean up after themselves—skills you will be happy to observe carrying over in your home.
What to look for in a Montessori classroom?
There are many Montessori schools in Markham, each unique in their own way. So how can you tell which ones are authentic?
One way is step inside their Montessori classroom, and look for the following characteristics:
Mixed age-group environment
Having a mixed age-group classroom is crucial; children learn from each other, care for each other, and help to eliminate the crutches that would occur if the children were all the same age. The children gain more independence and have less dependence on the teachers.
A typical Montessori school in Markham would have children from 18 months to 2.9 years old in a pre-Casa classroom and children from 3 to 6 years old in a Casa classroom.
Prepared, orderly environment
An authentic Montessori classroom should contain only materials that respond to the developmental stages of a child in their respective age-group setting. The classroom should be clean, orderly, and encourages independence. You should see no toys in a Casa classroom as the Montessori materials fulfill the various needs of the children at all stages.
Individualized curriculum, purposeful Lessons
In an authentic Montessori classroom, lessons are often not given to the entire class at the same time; instead, generally lessons are given individually (however some lessons are given in a small group setting).
Montessori lessons should be given only when the child is ready. Before a lesson is given the child must have successfully completed any preparatory lessons. If the concepts of the preceding lessons have not be absorbed then the probability of success will be minimal.
The Montessori lessons should also be very purposeful, specifically catering to each stage of the child’s development. The children work according to their choice and capability and no comparisons to children of equal age are made.
An authentic Montessori classroom should contain self-correcting materials. This way, teachers do not have to do all of the correcting, and the child’s self-esteem is protected. Self confidence grows as the children discover they can do things the correct way by themselves.
Freedom with limits
Children should be able to freely choose work in a Montessori classroom based on interest and developmental needs. Teachers should be constantly observing and present lessons that are appropriate for the child. Once a child has been presented with a lesson they are free to use it when they desire (if it’s not being used by another child).
The children are encouraged to repeat lessons as many times as the child wishes, so that the concept is completely absorbed. In a Montessori setting, a child will not necessarily receive a new lesson every day, as time and repetition, as well as concentration, observation and discussion, are essential for the complete creation of the child.
In a Montessori classroom, children are allowed to retain their dignity at all times. Greeting and dismissing the child with a handshake and eye contact encourages the use of grace and courtesy. Showing affection to children is essential to their sense of security and emotional growth.
Children are also encouraged to respect the work of others; not touching, distracting, or disturbing other children who are working. Having only one of each lesson in the classroom helps the children respect others work, be patient, and to be proud of their own accomplishments.
The children are also expected to respect their environment. They are shown where lessons are found on the shelf and how to replace them in the correct manner. Older children help with replenishing supplies on the shelves and cleaning up at the end of the day.
Teachers should be mindful of how they display the children’s work in a Montessori classroom. It can create bad feelings/competition amongst the children, and encourage children to complete work for the sake of praise and recognition from adults and peers. It’s crucial to help children realize that the process is what’s important, not the end product.
In an authentic Montessori classroom, children are encouraged to perform daily tasks independently, including dressing themselves, taking care of their belongings, taking care of their environment, etc.
As the Montessori environment has been created in a safe manner for children, children do not have to ask for permission to go to the washroom, to the water fountain, or to repeat a lesson is not necessary.
Inspire Montessori School Classrooms – Cultivate a Life-long Love For Learning
At its core, Montessori education is an exciting journey of self-discovery. Rather than grades or external rewards, the reward of Montessori education lies in your child’s personal success.
The first six years of your child’s life is a time of tremendous growth and rapid development. We at Inspire Montessori School in Markham strives to create an authentic Montessori environment that respects your child’s unique development, stimulates a love-for-learning and prepares him or her to face the challenges of the future.