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Homeschooling with Montessori

What is Montessori Method? Maria Montessori developed this method in early 1900’s in Rome Italy when working with children that had learning difficulties. Later she found that all children benefited with this method of learning as children were able to self-learn when activities support the child’s natural development. As children are born with a desire to learn, by using spontaneous activities with purpose and with the guidance of an adult. This method is based on helping a child in naturally development of a human being. Using materials specially designed and prepared for a purpose to teaching concepts that the child is actively involved to create a real-life learning experience. A child’s understanding comes through these experiences via the materials and ability to find things out for themselves. Learning is based on physical exploration that the child can move around and choose the activities that they are interested in, and their thinking is linked to these activities to gain learning outcomes. Rewards and motivation come from the child moving through to complete activities, master them and individual development. 10 Principles of Montessori: 1. Respect of the Child – their individuality, freedom to select, move, correct mistakes and work at their own pace. 2. Absorbent Mind – First 6 years of a child’s life their minds are like sponges as they are constantly absorbing information from their environment, understanding culture, and their world. This is the period that a child will form a foundation of their intelligence and personality. 3. Sensitive Period – children pass through periods in their stage of development that the child is most capable of learning particular concepts or knowledge. 4. Educating the Whole Child – Focus is on nurturing the whole child in promoting experiences that support all areas of the child’s intellectual, physical, emotional and social development. All areas are interwoven in the learning experience and each area is equally important for the child’s learning. 5. Individualised Learning – personalised to each child’s interest, learning stages and needs. 6. Freedom of Movement – Children learn best when they are allowed to freely move around a prepare work area, free to choose their own activities and follow their own interests. Montessori learning is active, self-pacing, self-correcting. 7. Prepared Environment – The area and activities are specifically set out and planned by the adult, so everything has a purpose. This assists the child to develop logical thinking. Children can still freely pick the activities that support their interests and work at their own level and pace. 8. Intrinsic Motivation – Learning is its own reward, no stickers or gold stars here. The child gains a sense of accomplishment by completing an activity or mastering a concept or learning something new. 9. Independence – Providing an environment that a child will learn to do and think for themselves, so they gain independence. This is the fundamental goal for a child. 10. Auto-Education – This is a core goal. Children are capable and can (willing) teach themselves if the environment they are provided with gives thought-provoking stimulus. Prepare Environment All materials are purposeful for optimal learning environment for the child, itself is neutral (minimal vibrant colours), open-plan and a sense of order (everything has place) with beauty and harmony felt to the area. Children can move freely around the area, choosing their own activities as they may, work on this activity for as long as they wish and decide to work at a table, floor or small mat. Activities are placed in a structured order, in well-defined curriculum areas, displayed in gradual order from left to right and allows the child to move freely around activity so to choose for themselves. The area needs dedicated shelves for materials for organisation of resources, space to work at a table or floor that allows organic flow of movement for exploration and learning. Everything needs to be in the learning area at the child’s size, shelving the height of the child for easy access, furniture they can move to access (chairs and tables to sit in to work), learning materials that fit their small hands. This will support children’s independence and self-mastery. As real-life experiences are the focus, therefore the use of real-life objects is used. Rather than plastic cups the use of ceramic cups or real photos of animals rather than drawings of animals. These real life-learning experiences is how the child will build self-reliance and skills. Stability is required in the learning area, so shelves and furniture do not move so the child know where materials belong. This supports the child to develop security and awareness of the environment but new activities in the real-world life are often introduced that echoes the child’s interest.

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