Every child is unique in his way; his educational needs are also unique. For this very reason, many parents are looking for an alternative education approach rather than adopting traditional or conventional methods of teaching. Montessori curriculum, which has been around for a while now, is one of the popular approaches to educating kids. If you are wondering what kind of education system is best for your child, do take a look at what this curriculum holds. Read the following post for in-depth knowledge on this topic!
What Is Montessori Curriculum Approach?
Back in the late 19th and early 20th century, an Italian educator and doctor by the name of Maria Montessori stressed the fact of how young kids should learn. Her findings and ideas emphasised the fact that every child undergoes the development process at his own unique pace and also learns according to his capacity. Maria Montessori laid stress on the fact that knowledge should be imparted in a specific manner so that a child of any age is able to understand it well.
The traditional education system focuses on the fact that kids should learn the same thing in the same way and at the same time. Unlike this system, Montessori believed that the process of learning could not be determined as per the age of the child; rather, it is about the rate at which the child learns. And, this rate of speed should be the determining factor that should be used for acquiring a skill before moving on to the other skill. For this reason, it is very common to see mixed age-group kids in the same class in a Montessori classroom.
Usually, Montessori schools are private schools; however, nowadays, many public schools are offering this education style and curriculum option. Many kindergarten and preschools across the United States are adopting this curriculum in their schools.
Benefits of Montessori Curriculum
Though Montessori elementary curriculum originated way back in the 19th century, the approach is very modern and in sync with the present educational needs. Here are some of the benefits of the Montessori Curriculum:
1. Freedom to Choose
Unlike other curricula, in this curriculum, the child has the freedom to choose activities and lessons. As per some set standards and parameters, the child can decide what he wishes to study and how he wishes to do so. This type of curriculum is great for channelling a child’s curiosity and instigate him into becoming a better learner.
2. Matches With a Child’s Unique Learning Style
This curriculum recognises every child’s unique learning capacity and ability. The curriculum does not force the child to go on the next level until or unless the child is not prepared to do so. It allows the child to learn at his own pace.
3. Diverse Age-Groups
In this kind of curriculum, the classrooms have children of different age groups studying together. When kids belonging to different age groups study together, they can also learn from each other. This can help in a better understanding of concepts and creating a more comfortable learning environment for the kids.
These are some of the many benefits of the Montessori curriculum, which is also making the present-day parents opt for it for their kids.
Modules of Montessori Curriculum
The various modules of this curriculum are designed keeping in mind the holistic development of a child and thus covering the physical as well as psychological aspects of the child’s learning. The curriculum is further divided into the following modules:
The curriculum offers a multi-sensory approach for better assimilation of reading and writing by combining language experiences, phonics, and stories. The main aim is to let the child understand what he reads and write rather than requiring the child to learn things by heart. Various fun and interesting activities are conducted to make language-learning a better experience.
Kids love to feel and experience the world around them through various senses that include taste, touch, shape, smell, dimension, form, etc. The sensorial material provided to a child helps in classifying, clarifying, and comprehending the world around them. Some of the sensorial exercises that are adopted include auditory, visual, thermic, chromatic, olfactory, tactile, etc.
3. Practical life
This module is designed to offer the child a homelike setting to master some of the practical life skills by offering independence and confidence to the child. Some of the practical life exercises include learning courtesy and social skills, such as thanking, greeting, apologizing, etc.; taking care of the environment such as by sweeping, cleaning, gardening, etc.; taking care of self by washing hands, buttoning, zipping, unzipping, etc.; learning elementary movements such as transferring, closing, opening, balancing, etc.
This module is designed to help the child to not only respect nature but also to develop a better understanding of the environment around him. Here, Earth science and Geography are introduced through cultural pictures, jigsaw-puzzle maps, water forms, model landforms, etc. Other kinds of cultural activities help gain better knowledge and meaning of basic concepts of science that includes arts and crafts, music, animals, plants, etc.
This module is formulated to give a hands-on learning experience to the child for learning mathematical concepts with the use of an activity-based program. The use of sensory approach helps the child by using concrete to abstract activities until a child is ready to learn basic mathematic concepts such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, etc.
Principles of Montessori Curriculum
Not only has the Montessori curriculum been here for a while, but it is also believed to offer a better learning experience and environment to kids studying in primary as well as elementary grades. There are many Montessori schools across the length and breadth of the United States. Here are some basic principles of this curriculum:
- It is believed that the initial six years of a kid’s life are the most formative years.
- Every child should be respected and appreciated for his uniqueness and individuality.
- The adults present in the classroom are only the observers and facilitators, and a child should be left to follow his own learning rhythm that is not interfered by an adult.
- Every child comes with an innate and natural urge to learn, and if offered and given the right kind of opportunities and resources, he will do so with ease.
- More emphasis is laid on childhood learning, as this is the phase and age at which a child’s mind is most adaptable to learn and grasp new concepts and information.
- Any kind of memorisation is not a way to nurture a child’s abilities and skills. Instead, this kind of approach reduces or inhibits the child’s skills.
Age-Appropriate Montessori Curriculum
One of the most distinctive and special features of the Montessori kindergarten curriculum is different age groups or multi-age-grouping in the same class. Mostly, this age grouping includes the age range of three years. Thus, the children not only get to stay with the same peer group but also with the same teacher for a longer duration. It is seen that by being in a known environment and surroundings, the children are not only comfortable, but they also make stronger and meaningful bonds with each other. The age-appropriate Montessori curriculum includes:
- Pre-primary program for 2-year-old children: In this age bracket, kids are given a learning environment that helps in stimulating the emotional and cognitive abilities.
- Primary program for 3- to 6-year-old children: Under this program, children are offered an educational environment that helps them learn by gaining independence and confidence.
- Elementary program for 6- to 9-year-old children: This program ignites the inquisitive side of the child, and he may want to know why and how things happen around him. This program uses the skills learned in the formative years as a basis to help the child in exploring the world around him. This program is also built to fine-tune a child’s imagination, reasoning, socialisation, and moral justice.
Montessori Curriculum Subjects
Here are some subjects that are included in this curriculum:
Various teaching methodologies and practices are used to teach various language areas in the classroom. Emphasis is laid on enriching vocabulary, and thus precise words or names are used for denoting various kinds of objects. Classification of various kinds of objects is made easy by practising matching exercises that help in improving vocabulary and comprehension.
Teaching science is an important and integral part of this curriculum; however, the concepts that are taught offer interdisciplinary focus. This means that students learn various scientific and non-scientific topics at the same time. An example would be, teaching the kids about the formation of the earth, which will help the kids learn about science, history and theology.
The curriculum lays stress on concrete learning of mathematical concepts. The concepts and content are further divided into categories, which prove to be helpful in teaching challenging concepts in an order that will make them more understandable.
The Montessori language curriculum makes use of various sensory activities and concrete material to help children read. Instead of only learning the name of the letter, activities are conducted that help the child learn phonetic sounds, too.
Montessori writing is not taught to children through direct instructions; rather, the focus is laid on engaging activities and exercises for practising writing. This means that before the child starts writing alphabets, he learns to hold the pencil, learns about pencil pressure, and also about making different kinds of strokes. All this helps in improved hand and finger coordination and thus improves motor skills.
Montessori Homeschool Curriculum
Well, the Montessori curriculum was designed and formulated for classroom teaching. However, many parents prefer using these methods to homeschool their wards as this method of teaching offers a wide range of benefits to the kids. Therefore, if a proper teaching environment is created at home that follows the principles of the founder of this curriculum, parents can effectively teach their kids at home.
It is very important that parents should pay attention to the place and time that should be used for imparting knowledge to the child. A place or corner should be sought where you could place the teaching aids, such as educational toys, books, etc. You can keep anything handy that you think will help your child in learning the Montessori way! Basically, the Montessori preschool homeschool curriculum is a philosophy rather than any defined kind of program that needs to be followed if you are planning to use it for homeschooling and thus this gives parents more freedom to choose and adopt a curriculum that suits their child’s needs and requirements best.
Criticism Regarding Montessori Curriculum
There is no doubt that this educational method has revolutionised the concept of learning, and it comes with many benefits; however, there are few aspects that call for criticism of this concept! The lack of structure often concerns the parents, and they think that it may make their kid lag behind. Another area of concern is the cost of schooling in Montessori schools. Sometimes, it may become difficult for the kids to cope up with the curriculum, especially if the child is enrolled at an earlier stage in life. Also, the transition from Montessori to a traditional classroom may overwhelm the child!
The Montessori curriculum not only helps a child to learn at his own pace and speed, but it is also a great medium for kids who are facing any developmental delays. We hope the above article helped you in getting a thorough insight into this kind of curriculum!