10 Reasons to Love Montessori — By Bart Theriot

There is so much to love about Montessori. Here are a few of them in no particular order. If you’re interested in learning more about anything you read below, please send us an email at BTheriot@mabmontessori.com and we’ll be happy to dig in deeper. We could talk about this stuff all day!

1. Teachers are Pros: Our Montessori guides are operating at Jedi level. They know things. They can do things. They have spent years in training, honing their crafts. They are enlightened generalists, always prepared, endlessly patient, classroom awareness so strong they can almost predict things before they happen. When it comes to children, learning and parenting, they are a nearly limitless resource, qualified to speak on the entire spectrum of child development and they are eager to share. A Montessori teacher can quickly become an important part of your village…you know, the one it takes to raise a child.
2. Ah-hah moments galore: Montessori offers both parents and children a different way of seeing and doing things. So different, that it won’t take long before you see something that blows your mind. In the beginning, so much of the child’s work develops internally, but this is precicely what is needed in order for them to demonstrate what they have learned. We call them Montessori moments and in our classrooms, they happen all day, every day. The great thing about Montessori is that those moments will appear at home, too and they don’t stop just because you’ve been around for a while. A new one is waiting for you around every corner and we’ll teach you how to know where to look, but you have to keep your eyes peeled.
3. It works at home: Loving your child is the easy part. Trusting and respecting them is a different thing entirely, but that is exactly what every child needs most to grow independently. All day, everyday, our goal is to balance the adult/child partnership. As time passes, we are constantly taking responsibility from our own end of the scale and moving it to the child. As they grow, we dimminish. This is the natural progression of the ideal parent child relationship and Montessori has a proven method for accomplishing it. Work with us and we’ll show you how to get it done.
4. Mixed age classrooms: A three year age span in the classroom is a magical experience for every child. What a complex and enriching variety of personalities, abilities and knowledge encompassed in one group of children! Even without all the materials in the room, just imagine all there is for children to learn from one another. It is also a great way to prepare for the world, where our differences can become an opportunity to unite or an excuse to divide.
5. Individualized work: We meet each child where they are and partner with them to create an individual pathway of learning. One student’s work is never dependent upon what other students can or cannot do. We spend as long as each child needs in any lesson to internalize the concept before moving on. Not only that, but children learn to choose what they need to do as well as what they want to do and manage the time it takes to do it all.
6. Whole Child: We work in human thriving and the best way to acheive that is to nurture every aspect of development beyond mind, body and soul. Not just one skill or even three or four. We constantly observe and work individually with children to hone in on exactly what they need, when they need it. Whether it is patience, reading, social grace and courtesy, or just learning how to slow down, there is always something to learn and everything is a teachable moment.
7. Math demystified: If you hate math, this one’s for you. Actually, if you love math, this one’s for you as well. Our method and the uniquely created materials simplify complex concepts by reducing them to basic elements such as quantity and counting. A child is never given a numeric symbol without a representation of quantity. Math is not wrote, but rather concrete and tangible. We proceed at the child’s pace and then return to concepts later on to make sure they have taken root.
8. Multi-sensory language: Cursive letters traced in sandpaper on wooden tablets help a child to strengthen the connection between hand and mind as they learn the auditory, phonetic sound of each letter. Tangible, interactivce works such as these lead a child through the complicated access of language. As they begin to write, we label the pencil movements and each letter begins at the bottom of the line and connects with the next letter in the word. Children use objects, and pictures to match word sounds and gradually build encoding and decoding skills, all at a pace that is relevant to their individual abilities.
9. Non-Linear Learning: It sounds complicated, but dated, adult-based teaching methods which place “leveling up” to an arbitrary standard are not only too simple, but effectively crush a child’s innate love of learning. Non-linear learning allows us to literally circle back to previously learned concepts in order to refresh or expand the child’s understanding. We don’t leave anything behind and as the children grow, they learn the value of looking back as well as looking forward. This helps them to direct their own learning both now and in the future.
10. They take it with them: So few things in life can be truly mastered, but our evaluation of the child is based upon evidence of the approach toward mastery. Not only do our students retain the concrete lessons they have learned, but they also leave us with an insatiable love of learning (just like when we first met them). They seek out those who need help because they have learned how to care for themselves and the world around them. They are fulfilled by the acquisition of knowledge and skill and they recognize that the journey toward mastery is also its own destination.