What are the key ideas of the Montessori method, the famous Italian doctor and pedagogue?
- "Teach me to do alone". This sentence summarizes the pedagogy developed by Maria Montessori. An accompaniment respectful of its rhythm and attentive to its needs allows the child to develop his capacities and his talents. He learns by looking at the adult, then by making himself under his benevolent gaze. With the confidence he has gained, he then goes "alone". The acquisition of autonomy goes through errors that the child corrects himself and learns to repair.
- All her life, Maria Montessori worked for a better knowledge of the child. It is in the name of her own needs (of order, of repetition, of time, but also of manipulation, sensory experimentation and movement) that she asserted that the child does not make a whim. He reacts strongly to a situation that is violent to him, because it does not take into account his essential needs. For example, when he must immediately interrupt the activity that absorbed him.
- Maria Montessori trusted the child, his vital impetus, his thirst for exploration of the world. Trust and humility should be the posture of every educator. This implies going down to put at the level of the child: not to do in his place, the let-go at the end of his effort, allow him to start again as long as he wants, to banish all humiliating words ("you you take it badly "). In this way, the child builds up his inner security - the confidence that he needs to learn and adapt.
- No freedom without inner discipline! If freedom is the goal of education, if the child can be realized only if he evolves freely, this does not mean that he must do what he wants. But with orders and punishments, Maria Montessori prefers the example and the environment that leads her to change her behavior: lower her voice rather than ask her to be quiet, provide shelves at her height to allow her to put away (her shoes, activities material), speak each turn so that everyone understands ... From 3 years, a child can understand that "his freedom" must respect that of others.
- The Montessori material is the result of long observations. It is adapted to the size of the child and of good quality because the aesthetic awakens its interest. Designed for the child to work only one notion at a time (colors, shapes ...), it allows him to approach it by manipulating it, exploring it with its senses. This physical experience of notions (weight, the decimal system) facilitates the transition to abstraction. Maria Montessori has also developed "practical life" material so that the child can reproduce the activities of daily life (doing laundry, sweeping, carrying a tray ...). Because up to 6 years, he is passionate about the real and he likes to do as adults. In addition, these activities lead her to coordinate her movements and promote her concentration.
- The order allows the child to establish the links between the objects that make up his environment: he organizes it, gives it meaning. It gives him peace of mind and helps him "order" his thinking. This is why the child likes the habits that make him safe and worries about changes when they are not explained to him. The learning of storage, very soothing, can start very small with his parents: at the end of an activity the material is stored in its place. This is where he will take it to start the activity next time.
- Up to 6-7 years, the child has "absorbing spirit" according to the beautiful expression of Maria Montessori. He goes through six periods of great sensitivity: order, movement, language, sensations, small objects, social life. During these "sensitive periods", the child moves towards the activities that correspond to his development needs. Because every child has his inner rhythm. These needs met, strong new skills, the child then spontaneously choose other activities.
To continue in the Montessori spirit
The child, from Maria Montessori (Desclée de Brouwer, 17 €) : A key book to understand how the Italian pedagogue has developed his "method". A new way of education built with a scientific rigor and a deeply human look. Exciting.
The very big Montessori notebook of Balthazar's letters, by Marie-Hélène Place (Hatier Jeunesse, 11.95 €): Through the letters of the alphabet, pretty pages to create, draw, imagine and tackle the first learning. For children from 3 to 6 years old.
100 Montessori activities to prepare my child to read and write, by Marie-Hélène Place (Nathan, 11.90 €): Playing with the music of the words, naming the surroundings, touching different textures, pouring and transferring rice ... With this book, you will not be short of ideas to vary the proposals to your child and maintain his thirst for learning.