“Teach me to do it myself!”
The Montessori philosophy is built upon the idea that children develop and think differently than adults; that they are not merely “adults in small bodies”. Dr. Montessori advocated children’s rights, children working to develop themselves into adults, and that these developments could lead to world peace. Feedback and qualitative analysis of a child’s performance does exist but is usually provided in the form of a list of skills, activities and critical points, and sometimes a narrative of the child’s achievements, strengths and weaknesses, with emphasis on the improvement of those weaknesses.
The premises of a Montessori approach to teaching and learning include the following:
~A view of children as competent beings capable of self-directed learning.
~That children learn in a distinctly different way from adults.
~The ultimate importance of observation of the child interacting with her or his environment as the basis for ongoing curriculum development. Presentation of subsequent exercises for skill development and information accumulation are based on the teacher’s observation that the child has mastered the current exercise(s). ~Delineation of sensitive periods of development, during which a child’s mind is particularly open to learning specific skills or knowledge, including language development, sensorial experimentation and refinement, and various levels of social interaction.
~A belief in the “absorbent mind”, that children from birth to around age 6 possess limitless motivation to achieve competence within their environment and to perfect skills and understandings. This phenomenon is characterized by the young child’s capacity for repetition of activities within sensitive period categories, such as exhaustive babbling as language practice leading to language competence.
~That children are masters of their environment, which has been specifically prepared for them to be academic, comfortable, and allow a maximum amount of independence. ~That children learn through discovery, so didactic materials that are self-correcting are used as much as possible.