How does Montessori Approach work?

Motor Education

Motor Education: This education starts with daily practical skills like dressing, bathing, carrying stuff, sweeping outside, taking care of plants or pets. Montessori states that flawless movements should be repeatedly observed; that the child should be taught what to do not verbally but only by demonstration. Gymnastics and rhythmic exercises are important as well as physical coordination and balance development in motor education. Montessori believes that activities required for motor education provide self‐discipline, attention and good working habits. It emphasizes that these are important to develop senses and movement skills of the child for future academic learning.

Affective Education

Affective Education: Montessori prepared the learning toy materials for the development of senses. Doing coordinated exercises with these materials enables the child to make comparisons between materials. This enables learning through questions the similarities‐differences between materials in terms on unquantifiable concepts like; shapes, colours, opposites, softness; length. The child becomes the observer. This eventually enables the child to make comparisons, make judgments and finally make a decision.

Language Education

Language Education: Montessori emphasizes that the child has to realize all kinds of sounds around him and question the meanings of the sounds and thus learn the relationship between the different sounds. It is stated that this prepared the child to produce the correct sounds in the language. It is crucial that the teacher speaks clearly. It requires teaching the most commonly used tools by the students. After all the research and observation, the children will be like scientist who explore. The aim is to develop language by research and not through conversation.

Literacy and Calculation

Literacy and Calculation: It states that after the age of 4, children start to work on developing motor and sensual skills and prepare for academic life. Activities appropriate for literacy should also be included in that process. Arithmetic education should be prepared to help children learn about compare‐contrast and numbers.

Respect for the Child

Respect for the Child: Montessori principles pay great attention to the respect shown for the child. As every child is single, the education has to be individualized for each child. Children’s lives should be kept apart from adults’ and should be dealt differently. (Morrison1988).

Absorbent Mind

Absorbent Mind: According to Montessori, the individual has to be educated by himself and not by someone else. Adults use their minds to learn; and children use their senses to absorb and learn affectively. During this absorbent mind process, there are unconscious and conscious steps. Unconscious absorbent mind is usually between the ages 2‐ 5 and it is enabled through tasting, smelling and touching. Between the age 3‐6, the child separates his affectionate observations from the environment and develops conscious absorbent mind senses. The child learns differentiating and matching. (Morrison1988).

Sensitive Periods

Montessori states that there are sensitive periods during which the child gains some skills and the teachers should be aware of these periods. The efficient education method during the sensitive periods optimizes the learning. Efficient education is related to setting the best environment.
These periods are divided into 5:

1. The period when the needed environment is set for the child
2. The period when the environment is explored through mouth and touching and language learning.
3. Walking period
4. Curiosity, interest and adornment toward objects period
5. The interest to the social aspects of life period.

The importance of set environment
Learning takes place in a well‐set environment. This aims to enable the child to be independent. After the teacher provides information, the child is free to choose the work, the materials on his own and produce on his own. This will result in learning independently.

Authenticity and naturality plays crucial roles in the Montessori approach. In a set environment, natural and functional tools should be used as much as possible. (Iron: heat, knife: cutting, glass: feeling, etc.) (Temel1994)
The second important factor is the order of the set environment. The child will complete the task with the materials he has chosen; no one will intervene; after the task is complete the materials will be put back into their places according to class order; the child will contribute to the order of the environment he is living in. This will develop responsibility and self‐discipline. The materials in the classroom have to be natural and authentic.
The peaceful environments will develop the child’s personal discipline. (Calvert, 1986)