What Do Montessori Teachers Do?
The Montessori method is a unique philosophy of early childhood education that develops all aspects of a child: social, emotional, physical, and academic. Children learn to engage their world with all of their senses while being exposed to nature, the arts, and critical thinking skills built through conversation with their peers and play. Montessori teachers believe play is the work of children.
At Brooksfield Montessori Pre-School, learning and creativity are emphasized through play and social interactions. Students are introduced to new concepts by their teachers and are given the skills to discover and learn new ideas on their own. Small groups and individual-driven lessons mean learning is student-centered and allows for discovery and experiential learning. Without time restrictions, the student-led instruction and open-ended activities result in children finding their own answers. Teachers serve more as directors of the class rather than the sole imparters of knowledge. This process often leads to deeper and more engaging questions by the students. This method of directorship also fosters curiosity and a zest for learning that stays with children their whole lives.
Montessori Teachers Let Children Develop Naturally
Traditional school teachers are at the mercy of the clock. Lessons are paced against a prescribed curriculum that is geared toward students passing standardized tests. Emphasis is placed on reaching objectives, grades, and year-end tests.
By contrast, Montessori teachers place an enormous amount of trust in the developmental abilities of children. Teachers must have faith in their students and follow their lead. The focus is on the students and each teacher allows their children to pursue their own self-paced curriculum. A student may learn individually or in small groups without a rigid environment. Students experience longer blocks of time to explore with fewer interruptions.
Because learning is self-directed, preferred learning styles, students’ interests, and talents find their way into the curriculum in an organic way. Unlike traditional schools where knowledge is compartmentalized by subject, the Montessori method allows students to integrate subjects as they surface during projects or individual and group lessons.
Montessori Teachers Organize the Classroom
With this philosophy in mind, the role of a Montessori teacher is that of a preparer and organizer of materials. Each teacher focuses on creating a well-designed environment that promotes inquisitiveness and helps children move from one activity and level to the next. Teachers don’t provide the answers. Instead, they ask children how they think they should solve the problem. By observing each student, Montessori teachers decide what activities to guide the child to that will hold their attention and ignite their curiosity.
Montessori Teachers Instruct One-on-One
Montessori teachers are trained to give one-on-one and small group lessons. Little time is given to instructing large groups. Each lesson is brief, precise, and gives only the basic information necessary. These instructions are meant to pique a child’s interest rather than inform them of what they must do. Instead of telling children to build a tower with colorful blocks, a Montessori teacher will name the materials, tell the child where they can be found in the classroom, how they work, and what can be done with them. It’s then up to the child to make use of the items however they see fit.
Building trust with each student is paramount to the Montessori method. Teachers avoid using rewards or punishments and never criticize or interfere with a child’s work. Every teacher understands and values their role as a model of expected behavior. By being courteous, humble, inquisitive, honest, and calm, teachers show their students show their children what is expected of their behavior.