8 Principles of Montessori Education
- Movement And Cognition Are Connected:
Dr. Montessori espoused that people learn better when they move. So, Montessori materials encourage movement throughout the learning process. For example, children interact with large maps as part of their geography work and use hand bells as part of their musical education.
- Learning And Well Being Are Improved When People Feel In Control Of Their Lives:
In Montessori classrooms, children freely choose their work and work on it for as long (or as short) as desired. Note: this focuses on the perception of control. Remember that the teacher chooses the materials that are available to the child.
Note: For younger children, guidance is sometimes necessary.
- People Learn Better When They Are Interested In The Topic:
In most classrooms, children are forced to study what is presented, regardless of their interest level. Montessori education inspires children to want to learn -- allowing them to focus on work that interests them. This method also helps your child build intrinsic motivation (as opposed to extrinsic, which we will discuss next).
- Extrinsic Rewards Hurt Motivation Once The Reward Is Withdrawn:
There are no gold stars -- and often no grades at all -- in Montessori classrooms. The goal is to teach children the value of learning as its own reward. When children feel rewarded simply by learning new information, you foster an environment where they will seek education independently.
- Collaboration Can Be Conducive To Learning:
This is why Montessori classrooms are generally multi-age; so kids can teach and learn from each other. In a homeschooling environment, this can be tough to replicate. I highly recommend you find a coop or other group of like-minded moms in your area and network.
The goal is to find children that match your child's learning style. You can set up educational playdates, followed by fun at the park or museum.
- Learning In A Meaningful Context Can Be Better Than Learning In Abstraction:
This is best explained with an example: If your child loves paleontology, it's great to read a book about it, but it's AMAZING to bury dinosaur fossils in cloud dough and give the kid a little shovel and paintbrush to play paleontologist!
- The Careful Balance of Intervention:
Adults should walk a careful balance in the classroom. It is important to master the skill of allowing a child to work and struggle just long enough to learn from it, but not so long that they become frustrated.
- Structure In The Environment Benefits Children:
Dr. Montessori used both order and predictability in the classroom to decrease anxiety levels. The goal is to build independence and enhance children's love of learning, by reducing negative external stressors, like change and chaos.