Montessori or the concentration at its purest
Our theory is based on the Montessori pedagogy. To speak of this method is already to be impregnated with a philosophy whose pertinence has come down through the latest century, and which is today approved by neurosciences more than ever.
What is Montessori ?
Maria Montessori did not simply observe children, she actually deduced from her observation some rigorous principles allowing to promote their full development. The method is essentially based on materials, autonomy, respect of temporality and the mix of ages.
Montessori materials made available to children in their environment were studied scientifically so that they would include some specific direct and indirect goals, and especially not be misused. Materials developed by Maria Montessori are of great strength in the sense they allow children to understand as well as to appreciate each concept in a concrete way before moving on to abstract. Children learn from experience ; for example it is by touching both a smooth and a rough tablet they will understand the meaning of the words ''smooth'' and ''rough''.
Children need concrete experiences using all their senses and once the experiences tried they will be able to move on to abstraction easily, without ever having to go back to practical or to have the notion explained to them all over again. Concrete experiences allow a lasting understanding of all learning. Therefore adults are not the ones to give children some rules to apply. Children are those who, thanks to both handling and experience, find the rules by themselves. Montessori sensorial and scientifically materials respond to children need of natural development by respecting its sensitive phases. These materials make it possible to gain order, vocabulary, movement, sensorial sophistication, taste for beauty, independence, autonomy and self-confidence, willingness and taste for effort. It especially boosts concentration, which many individuals lack nowadays.
“The child is not a vase that we fill but a source that we leave spring.” Maria Montessori
Adults who wish to take care of children should not protect them by imposing them rules and verifying if they are being followed. They must above all create a preserved environment in which children can be free to exert their envy of discovery and learning. If everything is well prepared for them, children will be free to touch, to move and, especially, to progress. In fact, they will turn out to be more autonomous. It is the absolute opposite of doing anything, as it is too frequently said. On the contrary, by gaining autonomy children will become more concentrated and self-confident.
Educators do not only take over, but also act as reassuring guides. Once children become adults, they are not lost within the world, on the contrary they are simply trying to discover and to understand their environment just as they used to when they were little, as free and autonomous individuals.
“Help me to help myself.” Maria Montessori
The respect of temporality
The Montessori method adapts itself to the inner rhythm of each child, never imposing an unique one to all. Indeed Montessori educators have to propose individual lessons in order to satisfy every kid's needs. Those who wish can always observe, but cannot intervene if the lesson was not aimed specifically at them in the first place. Therefore educators must be sufficiently vigilant and well trained to make time for each pupil according to their current needs, never imposing a particular time to give a lesson to them. It is by observing children carefully, or even by letting them come to them they will find the adequate moment to introduce some new material.
“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.” Maria Montessori
The mix of ages
Another fundamental aspect of the Montessori ambiance is to reunite children of different ages. Some structures welcome them from 0 to 3 years old and then within schools can be found the ambiances 3-6 years, 6-9 years, 9-12 years, etc. Those age ranges have been defined according to children development phases. The younger children, who of course observe everything occurring around themselves, learn tremendously, driven up by watching what the older children do. It also often gives enjoyable goals to them as they are highly stimulated, with no pressure coming from the adults. Quite frequently, because they spend some a lot of time observing the oldest, young children already know how to use the materials and do not even need further explanation from adults.
By observing classmates doing an activity such as learning how to read or leading a big operation, the target suddenly seems easily attainable and young children clearly see what the right steps are to reach it. On the other hand, older children learn to respect the younger ones' sensitivity as well as their age difference. They are conscious they have to be showing good examples as their younger peers often tend to copy their behavior. This is therefore extremely gratifying for them as they understand they have a significant role to play and can also have an impact on other beings. They are happy to both help and support younger ones, to show them the right way to proceed.
Montessori, what else ?
If you wish to know more about the Montessori pedagogy, you are very welcome to come and visit us in one of our different schools :
- Lycée International Montessori of Bailly,
- Montessori Athéna in Carvin, Clichy or Montherlant,
- Montessori International Bordeaux,
- Montessori Esclaibes International Marseille
To read our books or, even better, to attend a course in our training organization
Montessori, everywhere in the world
A few numbers...
There are about 35 000 Montessori schools worldwide, including 5000 in the United States and more than 600 in Great-Britain.
Germany counts about 1000 Montessori institutions (600 kindergartens and 400 schools of which 35% are public schools).
In the Netherlands, some 160 Montessori schools are in contract with the state. They are extremely popular, as about 5% of the pupils spent a part of their scholar years in a Montessori school.*
One of the inspirations during the educational system revision in Finland was the Montessori pedagogy. Since 2000, Finland achieves PISA top worldwide rankings of the OECD. Other countries such as Canada or Sweden (312 Montessori schools) have successfully integrated the Montessori pedagogy in public schools as well. More recently, in England, Montessori pedagogy was adopted in numerous primary public schools with meaningful results.
Montessori, what next ?
Our main ambition is to make our pupils adaptable, not to infuse a scholar system which would cut them off from the real world. We are well aware of life variations as well as the necessity to never remove children from the scholar bases expected by the Education Nationale. We therefore follow programs, ensuring a very careful follow-up.
The Montessori pedagogy, associated to bilingualism, allows children to gain self-confidence and to be able to react to life situations. Relying on an open mind, an excellent academic level, great senses of both cooperation and responsibility, Montessori students are indeed ready to become actors of the future. It comes as no surprise that in the Silicon Valley parents picked this particular path for their kids !