Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning, and collaborative play. It was created by Dr. Maria Montessori in the 1990s and is a children-focused strategy for training that prioritizes kid-driven exercises. Children work in groups and independently to find and investigate information on the world and to foster their greatest potential. Here are the pros and cons of Montessori education.
Pros of Montessori education
Child-led and focussed
One of the foundational views of Montessori education is that each child is different and has a unique development pace. The children are not compared to each other and learn at their own pace absent judgment and pressure. The aim is to give them the support and help they need to thrive.
A child-led approach also means the child learns from an early age to make their own choices and work mostly by themselves on figuring out the world around them. The activities and this approach give children great independence and build their self-confidence. It also encourages them to follow their progress and self-assess their work without any external pressure or comparison. Focus is not just on academics but on the whole child, including their physical, emotional, and social needs.
Cultivated love for learning
Montessori education strives to encourage a love for learning. At the elementary level, learning is often project-based and just worksheets and lists to be memorized like other education systems. The learning materials and activities are designed to spark curiosity and a desire to learn. Children choose what interests them and pursue that. They also learn through play. The activities are also fun and interesting which makes learning enjoyable and not burdensome. Homework is rare and there’s never rote busy work to be done. Enough of the classes are done outdoors with interesting hands-on projects. These benefits of enjoyable learning can stay with children for the rest of their lives.
From an early age, children in the Montessori system learn to interact with other children of different ages through peer-to-peer learning classrooms. The classrooms are multi-age, unlike traditional learning which has a hard separation between the different ages. The children teach each other, learn from each other and understand the importance of acceptance and inclusion.
Supports special needs
The Montessori philosophy of “follow the child” allows children to receive individualized early childhood education. This child-led approach to education grew out of Dr. Maria Montessori’s work with disabled children and proved useful. It’s especially beneficial because the children are not compared to each other or subjected to other such external pressure which can have a negative effect, especially on those with special needs. They get to learn on their own with different goals and ideas that suit their unique learning style.
Develops soft skills
Montessori education enhances a variety of soft skills in children including responsibility, independence, fairness, adaptability, and positivity. The courage of independence in the classroom can translate to the courage of independence in adult life. There’s a strong focus on teaching respect for oneself, peers, adults, and the environment. Research shows that students of Montessori nursery schools have superior skills in comparison to other children of their age group.
The highly developed mathematics curriculum
Math is taught using hands-on techniques to teach order, sequence, and develop numeracy. These approaches teach a deep understanding of concepts rather than simply memorizing tables and formulas.
Cons of Montessori education
Price and accessibility
Montessori education comes with a hefty price tag and there are few institutions able to offer such individualized attention.
Difficult to adapt
Once a student encounters the Montessori method, they may find it difficult to adjust to the rigid structures of traditional schooling in later years. Many students who have spent at least three years in this system struggle to follow the rules and expectations.
There are no restrictions on the term “Montessori” and there are no specific definitions or guidelines that need to be met to use this name. This means any school can call itself a Montessori school and the burden is on the parents to perform their due diligence about potential learning institutions.
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