I'd like to echo some of the good and correct information.
First, basic history.
Maria Montessori, was Italian, not French.
Her method did not start with gifted children. Her first work with children was at the Psychiatric Clinic in the University of Rome where she had the opportunity to work with intellectually handicapped children. She later directed a day care center that she called Casa dei Bambini, in a housing project in a slum area in San Lorenzo.
Second, in a properly directed classroom, children do not lose interest quickly, children are not held to the pace of slower children, nor are the teachers inflexible. Anyone who thinks as much should review better materials, visit better Montessori schools, and talk to qualified Montessori teachers.
As the Professor points out, there is simply too much ground to cover to answer in this small space.
I would highly recommend reading on some of the following sites,
Montessori 101: Some Basic Information that Every Montessori Parent Should Know
What is Montessori? (from the American Montessori Society)
American Montessori Philosophy and Practice
History of Montessori Education (from University of Michigan website)
History of Montessori and the Montessori Approach
(from the Montessori International School)
Quoting, "On the Barbara Walters ABC-TV Special "The 10 Most Fascinating People Of 2004" Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of the popular Internet search engine Google.com, credited their years as Montessori students as a major factor in behind their success. Having been friends since childhood. When Barbara Walters asked if the fact that their parents were college professors was a factor behind their success, they said no, that it was their going to Montessori school where they learned to be self-directed and self-starters. They said that Montessori allowed them to learn to think for themselves and gave them freedom to pursue their own interests."
11/2 years to 3 year care of the students
It is a childcare center based on the principles established by Montessori (which is French) that believes each child should learn at their individual rate and ability. The school was established for gifted children who were stagnating in regular school, but there are now schools which accept all level of children gifted or not and each is allowed to progress in a clump with her/his peers. The childcare centers are the latest development and generally address the infant and toddler needs in development issues. If it is operated by a trained person and not just a name it would be an excellent care center.
The Montessori philosophy focuses on engaging and inspiring children to discover their potential within an environment promoting mutual respect, social responsibility and natural curiosity and a love of learning.
They are are taught and exposed to nature. They are taught to use the proper words and to respect their playmates and the class room belongings. They are encouraged to use words to express their emotions instead of just sitting their crying. Or if a child is doing something to them that they don't like, instead of pushing the child away or using other negative acts, they simply say "I don't like that" and the other child knows to listen to his/her words and respect them.
Montessori emphasizes stability and choices. No child is forced to participate in an activity if he or she does not want to.
They can be expensive. Which is ironic because it was originally for the poor.
I'm not exactly sure but I know I went to one for "preschool" and it was awesome! I remember that the classes were quiet because we did more one on one work. All of the children worked at their own level. I liked it a lot.
A Montessori program is based on the teaching philosophy of Maria Montessori (Italian, not French). She observed children and found that they had absorbent minds and developed a curriculum based on her findings. The materials used are self correcting so the child will always learn and have success. There is also a lot of focus on hands on learning: Housekeeping - where the children learn to polish silver, wash dishes, cut sandwiches, serve their lunch: Practical Life - children learn how to pack a suitcase, fold clothes: Geography - children learn about their world through maps, and so on. There is too much to cover here. Visit a website that will describe the Montessori approach.
While I am all for the hands-on method since I am an Ex-Preschool Teacher that now homeschools, the Montessori is NOT my favorite.
The Montessori method while allowing for the child(ren) to learn with hands-on, can at the same time cause the child(ren) to lose interest quickly since they are REQUIRED to do the same task over and over til they master it. It can therefore hold others back while the 'slower' child attempts mastery. Teacher's of this method tend to be a little 'unflexable' and will stick with 'Only' one type of medium of learning instead of searching for a different medium to learn with should the current one not work for a particular child.
Please don't misunderstand, I am not condeming it and not ALL Teacher's of this method teach the same way.this is simply a view from a former Teacher who has experience with this method.
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