Many of Maria Montessori’s ideas, methods and materials are incorporated into the philosophy of The Adam J. Lewis Preschool. She believed that children are “motivated doers” given the right environment, not empty vessels to be filled with information. Although not a strict Montessori program, AJL Preschool has adopted many of her principles and beliefs.
Movement boosts learning
It is critical, for young children especially, to be able to move and manipulate things as they assimilate information and learn. This active, hands-on learning approach is critical for building a concrete foundation in young children. These educational materials encourage the children to work with their hands and learn.
The Value of Choice
Children are more excited about learning and can sustain focus longer when they are allowed to select their own activities. During classroom work time, the students can choose the activities they want to work on and they are free to spend as much time as they like with these materials. This opportunity to make their own choices fosters a sense of independence and ownership.
Avoid External Rewards
Montessori believed that a child’s desire to learn should come from within, not from external rewards, such as gold stars or candy, and recent studies have supported this idea. As children complete tasks independently, they experience that “I did it myself” moment, which helps build self-esteem and provides them with powerful internal reinforcement and praise.
A Well-Prepared, Stimulating Environment
Montessori believed that the classroom environment was a critical piece in the education of a child. She revolutionized the idea that all furniture should be child-sized and that the children should have access to all materials. Our Preschool has one open classroom, with different areas of learning. Each area contains stimulating, enticing materials for the students to work with and discover.
Montessori and Piaget both believed that children should be grouped by development rather than chronological age. They believed that mixed-age grouping was a “powerful engine,” for children acquiring skills. All 3, 4 and young 5 year olds are grouped together in one class, in accordance with the philosophy that there is valuable learning which takes places among peers.
Respectful Teacher and Child Interactions
Montessori was a pioneer in her day in her belief that children should be seen, heard and respected. She spent a great deal of time describing the importance of the teacher-student relationship. This relationship is extremely important for it creates a safe, positive learning environment and affirmative language will be used at all times.