What is the Montessori method?
It is an educational method created by the Italian doctor, anthropologist and pedagogue Maria Montessori. A woman ahead of her time who managed her career and her own education with an attitude towards change, with a great conviction that this change could be made.
Thanks to her eagerness to know childhood and to observe, she created a Method that opened the way to a new way of looking at the child. This method of learning, created at the end of the 19th century, is still in use in many schools around the world today.
Sensory and cognitive
The best way to achieve a better use of the brain is to give it a good quality and quantity of information especially in the first years of life, in which the brain shows a great capacity to develop functional circuits.
These circuits and connections constitute the basic structure of the mind.
Information received through body contact, smells, voices, music, etc., are the material that constitute the basic “perceptual structures” that will be used throughout life.
With the sensory-cognitive material we can better classify the impressions of the environment; the colors, the sounds, the shapes, the dimensions, the weight, etc. The senses, which are the explorers of the environment, open the way to knowledge, exploration and the mathematical mind.
It could be said that the area of practical life is the soul of a Montessori classroom and the basis of learning at stage 0-3.
The reason why practical life activities are introduced at this stage is because they help the child adapt to the world in which he or she lives. We know that children have universal natural tendencies such as exploration, movement, imitation, etc. The fact that we bring them closer to this type of activity means that we cover these tendencies and let them emerge.
The importance of this area lies in the fact that it connects with other areas such as language, sensory experiences, etc. and allows us to work on the basic pillars of development through daily activities that favour them:
Coordination: which will allow the child to explore his environment, perfect his movements and learn to create through his hands.
The order: so important to build their internal order.
Independence: to favor his self-esteem, self-confidence and internal motivation since he chooses what he wants to work on.
Concentration: essential for learning and normalization.
Within the practical life we would find the following areas:
- Personal care.
- Care of the environment.
- Essential movements/ Furniture.
- Grace and courtesy.
- Food preparation.
In addition, it is the area that can best be adapted to the home so that it can run parallel to the school in such a way that the child feels integrated and useful within the family.
Movement is what leads children to develop skills and strategies to slide and move their whole body for different purposes.
We can’t talk about intelligence without talking about movement. Body and mind are linked and need to be interrelated for the child’s cognitive development.
It will be essential to respect the child’s need to walk and move. Therefore, children will always be seen in movement within a Montessori environment.
In our school we introduce the Pikler pedagogy for these needs that occur within this period.
One of the most relevant aspects in the child development stage, specifically from 0 to 6 years old, is the acquisition of language. Maria Montessori investigated this field in depth, offering a wide range of practices and support materials.
Language is an internal and spontaneous process. In Nest and Infant Community the objective is that language facilitates their thinking and helps them to establish a social life.
Before working in this area the child needs a previous preparation that he/she achieves through practical and sensorial life activities.
By carrying out these activities, the child will be able to perfect, in an indirect way, his/her hand-eye coordination, the sense of his/her movements from left to right and from top to bottom, improve the pincer grip, etc., aspects that will be needed later on for good writing.