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This page contains resources pertaining to Teacher Education, Parent Education and School Promotion. The site is used by educators from more than 60 countries and averages about 1800 views per month.

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Discovering Montessori

While some parents are perplexed that others spend large sums of money to educate their 3-year olds, a study conducted by the Carneigie Corporation ten years ago, concluded that earlier schooling is more effective than our traditional schedule, aids the development of the child, and underscores the importance of the preschool years.

In summary the report stated, "Scientists now know that the brain learns easiest and best during the first years of life, when it is growing fastest and making essential and permanent interconnections". When these opportunities for learning are lost, it becomes more difficult for the child to learn.

The research confirmed that successful preschool programs connect with what parents teach toddlers and what kindergarten and elementary programs will try to accomplish.

The report continued to say "Academic self-image is shaped between the age of 3 and 10, and children who take an early dislike to schoolwork or have doubts about their academic worth, face disadvantage in all future learning."

The basic principles underlying the Montessori method are now proven to be in line with recent research in human development. The result of the Carnegie report exemplifies this fact.

The Carnegie report proposed adding two years of high quality preschooling to the traditional school program. The Montessori method has recognized birth to six as the formative period for years. Montessori believed that the lessons and values learned during this period were crucial to all subsequent learning and behavior. Montessori’s belief in the educability of the preschool mentality inspired her to develop a comprehensive program that nurtures this neglected age group.

Maria Montessori for years upheld that there are sensitive periods during a child's development at which it is easier for him to grasp certain fundamental concepts. The Montessori curriculum is carefully designed to utilize these periods in maximizing each child's potential.

The Montessori curriculum is sequential. There is a practical life component that helps children acquire skills necessary for life and continued learning. Academically it engages younger children in work and
activities that sharpen observation skills, refine perception, increase powers of concentration and expose them to the fundamental concepts of reading, writing and arithmetic. These skills help them later to think abstractly and analytically as they tackle problem solving in the elementary years and later on in life.

Studies show that young children develop a love of learning in an environment where they are free to choose activities and proceed at their natural pace. A Montessori environment fosters independence and responsibility in young children, cultivating a positive self image as the basis for achieving other aims.

The Carnegie Report enumerates politics, inadequate funding and educational experiments awaiting further evaluation as some of the obstacles to planning reform initiatives. The obstacles to reform, although
understandable, leave present public school educational practices out of sync with what research tells us is most academically effective.

But responsible parents should not allow such obstacles to obstruct the development of their children. The report concludes that funds should be reallocated immediately to programs that are time-tested.

Three programs were sited as being particularly effective: High/Scope, Parents as First Partners, and Montessori. In addition to research on the brain that demonstrates Montessori education to be neurologically appropriate, Montessori is one of the few educational options that maintains a sound educational philosophy, is premised upon proven principles, and has enjoyed worldwide success for almost 100 years.

So, in the absence of government funding for such programs, enlightened parents are making the choice to allocate their own resources to prepare their children for the challenges of the 21st century.

Click here to download the full pdf file: discoveringmontessori_v10.pdf

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