There are many benefits of a child having the opportunity to experience a Montessori education, especially during the primary years (ages 3-6). Some of them are listed below:
1.) Educates the child
- Appreciates the child’s unique personality
- Respects the child’s rate of development: physical, social and emotional
- Encourages the child to build leadership skills, independence and self-discipline
- Recognizes each child’s individual learning style and rate of progress
2.) Empowers the community
- Offers a well organized multi-aged classroom which encourages learning, teaching, and modeling within each child
- Develops within each child a strong sense of community
- Creates a class which is inviting to the child and encourages an excitable learning environment
- Encourages the child to respect nature through exploration
3.) Encourage the family
- Strengthens the child’s natural desire to help and care for others (community service)
- Established cooperation and collaboration within both environments; home and school
- Creates a need for peace and harmony within the child and in turn, the family
Dr. Steve Hughes is a neuropsychologist who is an advocate of the Montessori method of education. In the table below, Dr. Steve Hughes breaks down individual conditions and the resulting behavior reported where the participant was engaged in what Dr. Hughes refers to as an enriched environment.
Effects on Enriched Environment
This screencast further explains why the Montessori Method of education should be supported, as well as, the positive effects it has on the child in relation to his brain’s growth and development.
Dr. Maria Montessori, through a lifetime of observation and research, developed a method of education where the classroom environment is filled with child-size materials and equipment which invite and encourage the child’s natural state of curiosity and imagination while building a confident, independent and self-directed learner.
A special needs child stands to benefit from a Montessori education as the philosophy behind this system of learning is one which addresses the child’s unique needs and individual differences. The process of learning is based on the child’s innate curiosity and inner drive. The classroom environment is already adapted to the child, but can be further individualized based on the individual needs of the special needs child. The guide plays a very important role in observing the child, monitoring his progress, and assisting when needed. Over time, it is possible for the child to develop skills in self-sufficiency in both his home and learning environment.
A Montessori education provides a structured environment with organized materials from which the child has the freedom to choose once he has received instruction. The child learns a specific task with each material lesson from which he works. A Montessori environment encourages a child to investigate his curiosities, as well as, learn how to care for himself, the environment and others. Grace and courtesy are lessons the child is introduced upon first entering the class. The guide provides instruction in being polite, saying “excuse me,” and blowing ones nose, etc. Scheduling a visit to spend 30 minutes observing a part of the 3-hr work cycle is an experience which one is not likely to soon forget.
Below is a chart which lists the major differences between a Montessori classroom and a Traditional one: