Why Montessori play is not child’s play
“The first six years of the child are the foundation of all the characteristics, attitudes, and abilities of his adulthood constructed in such a manner that it lasts throughout his whole life.” ~ Dr. Maria Montessori
Young children are very curious and wonder about how things work. They learn using their senses and through play. The main difference between a regular preschool or daycare and a Montessori school is that a Montessori schools sets young children on a lifelong path of exploration. We do this by creating a world (or classroom) designed for young children. When you go to a Montessori classroom notice how the size of the chairs, the tables, the shelves and even the materials are carefully planned to fulfill the child’s need to be independent. They are able to get Montessori material off the shelves by themselves and move to a table on their own and pull the chair back and sit down without help from an adult. This empowers their self-worth and is optimum for their development.
You always here children, especially Toddlers, say “it’s mine” when you try to help them with some activity like helping him put on his shoes. It’s not that the toddler is saying the shoe is his; he’s trying to say that he wants to put the shoe on by himself. Toddlers have an innate desire to “do it by myself”.
Montessori schools allow the children the freedom to learn and master what interests them. Montessori materials are handled carefully and with respect. Each material teaches just 1 skill or concept at a time. Children are encouraged to learn by themselves. If they make a mistake, they can try again on their own without the teacher having to correct the mistake because Montessori materials have a built-in “control of error” that just doesn’t look right if done incorrectly.
In a Montessori class room children gain self-confidence and self-discipline on their own with a presence of a teacher guiding and assisting when needed. This creates a strong foundation for all future learning. For this reason, many parents choose Montessori instead of daycare or traditional preschools.