Montessori schools and their educational techniques are known around the United States as excellent learning centers for young children.
Orange County, CA, with a population of over 3 million, is home to a large number of these innovative schools. Because many households have educated parents who both work, the opportunity to send their children to Montessori schools that provide pre-school educational programs combined with child day-care is a popular choice.
In addition, it’s generally recognized that children who have the benefit of attending a Montessori school do better in their later educational life. Why can be attributed to the basic Montessori system and the emphasis on beginning the learning experience at a very early age.
The Montessori founder, Maria Montessori, developed her educational philosophy after attending the University of Rome in the late 1890s. After attending classes on various teaching techniques and reading about the various educational theories of the past two hundred years, Montessori went about developing her own system.
The first Montessori schools in the United States were established in the early 1930s but met stubborn resistance from the educational traditionalists. Most of the criticism was generated by a 1941 booklet that cast a critical and unflattering view on Maria Montessori and teaching theories.
By the 1960s, however, that unfounded skepticism had vanished. As the early-education schools spread across the country, Montessori continued to develop programs aimed at older students up to age 18, but she died before she could implement any f the programs.
Today, thousands of pre-school children ages 3-6 are enrolled in schools that are structured under the Montessori leaning techniques. Some schools also offer child day-care and elementary school level classes.
The Montessori System
The classroom in a Montessori school differs from most public schools in its physical layout. The rooms are much larger and have open space with shelves, tables and chairs sized for small children.
The children have the freedom to work at any table in alone or in small groups. Organization is emphasized along with cleanliness and order.
Montessori Curriculum/Subject Areas
1. Practical Life
By teaching the simple and practical aspects of life like how to wash dishes, prepare fruit and vegetables and personal hygiene, the goal is to instill concentration, independence and an orderly way of life in the children.
Games and toys are used to help children develop their senses of touch, smell, sight, taste and hearing more thoroughly. This helps them in measuring sizes, shapes and weights of objects more accurately.
3. Language Study
Most educators agree that reading is the key to a successful education. Montessori students learn to read and write at a much earlier age than other school children. The language sections in the classroom have everything the child needs to develop their reading and language skills.
Math is introduced to Montessori children at the pre-school level. By being exposed to basic math like counting, recognizing numbers and shapes at such an early age, the children are more comfortable with mathematics and can advance into the theoretically area of higher math more easily.
5. Learning About other Cultures
By teaching children about other cultures at an early age, they are more likely to understand and respect those cultures. Basic subjects like history geography and science are taught at the pre-school level to help children learn about their own culture.
A Montessori education is fundamentally an education based on two principles. Firstly, children who engage in psychological interaction with their environments learn faster. Secondly, children ages 3-5 have an inherent pathway to psychological development. Children who are free to choose actions within a prepared educational environment tend to learn more spontaneously for maximum learning growth.
The Bright Star Montessori School in Anaheim is well-known for providing children ages 2 to 6 with a safe and nourishing environment that helps the students build their social, personal and cognitive skills in an early pathway to becoming become successful adults.