“The child is not a vase which we fill, but a spring which we allow to gush freely” ~ Maria Montessori
The Montessori philosophy is built around the notion that children all possess an innate desire to learn, but in their own way, at their own pace. The fundamental role of the educator must therefore be to nurture that desire, while respecting the inherent qualities and personalities of each and every child.
The simplest illustration: learning to walk. Some children learn at 9 months, others at 18 months, but they all experience the joy of that first step soon enough. The point is to acquire a skill at the right time, when it can be mastered with confidence and joy.
“The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind” ~ Maria Montessori
The Montessori approach brings self-confidence, self-esteem and autonomy to all children, who are then equipped to learn and thrive throughout their lives, with a peaceful and respectful outlook towards others.
“These words reveal the child’s inner needs: Help me to do it alone” ~ Maria Montessori
The Montessori method favors freedom within a structured environment. The classroom is designed for discovering the pillars of knowledge through carefully selected and laid-out materials, which stimulate the imagination and isolate concepts. The educator acts as a guide and a reassuring presence, without interfering in the child’s self-learning. Such an approach takes the child on the path to self-confidence and autonomy.
“The child can develop fully by means of experience in his environment. We call such experiences ‘work’ ” ~ Maria Montessori
The Montessori approach is based on a philosophy of child development, which respects two fundamental needs:
The freedom to explore, within limits and with guidance
Access to a carefully prepared environment, designed to stimulate and to favor experimentation – the basis of self-learning
This approach considers the fact that children have an innate desire to learn and a unique ability to develop their own skills.
In the first six years of life, Maria Montessori identified that children are directed by their absorbent minds. During this phase, by exploring and absorbing impressions in their environment, children construct their conscious minds, their understanding of the world. Our role is to provide a safe and rich environment for the child, in order to favor this essential process.
From 3 to 6 years of age, children develop their will and their memory. They reach out to interact with specific elements in their environment, corresponding to their current sensitive period (as defined by Maria Montessori). These periods lead the child to focus on:
Movement: mastering precise motor skills is a key to mental development
Order: the child’s foundation for making sense out of the environment
Language: learning accents and grammar at an age when it comes naturally
Small objects: understanding the finer workings of the little things that make up the world
Social behavior: promoting social grace and interaction for a happy, confident future
The Montessori approach at Little Birds is designed to respect each child’s progress through these sensitive periods. Driven by the child’s self-motivation, the process of learning becomes both joyful and natural.
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