Montessori in a Nutshell
The Montessori Method of education is radically different to the traditional approach in myriad ways and this makes it hard to give a succinct explanation of its values and practices. In fact, composing the perfect Montessori Elevator Speech (an explanation that can be deliver in the time of an average elevator ride) has become something of a philosophical game amongst Montessorians. There was even an Elevator Speech competition held at the International Montessori Congress in 2013.
Have a look here for some of the submissions.
I have watched/ read several of the speeches with a fellow AMI trained Montessori 6 -12 teacher and we felt there was still some work to be done. Here is Sharon Udy's version of Montessori in a nutshell:
What is Montessori?
Montessori is a method of education which is in use all over the world and has been going for over a hundred years. Montessori children choose their own work, and are allowed to complete it without interruption, so they develop great concentration and focus. They use hands on materials, and part of their curriculum is grace and courtesy – how to treat each other, and their environment.
All children start off with a deep desire to learn, and ask endless questions. Montessori students don’t lose this love of learning as students in traditional schools can. There are three year levels in each class, so children become teachers and learn from each other –there is no stigma when students of different ages have a lesson together because they are all ready for it, or it is a topic of great interest for them.
Many traditional schools are now experimenting with inquiry-based learning; flexible seating arrangements; individual or small group lessons; personalised learning; learners and teachers working together – yet these are all integral parts of the Montessori philosophy and have been for over one hundred years!