Montessori classrooms provide a prepared environment where children can go to do purposeful work. Dr. Montessori developed the curriculum based on the neurological and physiological needs of the child at each stage of development. Then she broke the curriculum up into concrete activities which she placed beautifully and logically within the Montessori classroom. The role of the Montessori teacher is to demonstrate the use of the materials and activities based on observation and careful assessment of the child’s needs. The ultimate goal of the teacher is to intervene less and less as the child develops. The AMI Montessori teacher receives specialized training and education so that he or she can develop the skill of knowing when to intervene and when to observe. In this multi-age environment the children develop independence, creativity, responsibility and a sense of their place as a contributing member of their classroom community.
In the Montessori teaching community, the word ‘technology’ can incite some pretty spirited conversation. Opinions on the role of technology in a Montessori classroom vary drastically – some schools are embracing digital tools and incorporating them into their classrooms with an evolutionary attitude, while extremists feel that there is no place for technology in a traditional Montessori program. Each school decides their own unique approach to technology within their curriculum based on their philosophy.
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The role of the Montessori material is often over-emphasized in relation to the other elements of the prepared environment. The very purpose of the material is often misunderstood. The materials are not “learning devices” in the conventional sense. Neither are thy toys to be played with. They do not have an external aim of developing skills or teaching concepts to children who use them properly. The material has an inner purpose, to assist the child in his own self-construction and in his physical, psychological, intellectual and social development.