Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Montessori Way...

Have you been thinking about enrolling your child in a Montessori school? Or maybe just looking for a way to enhance your child's home education? Perhaps you've heard the word Montessori, but don't know anything about it. Well, Amigas, having been a Montessori child myself, I am going to focus on this topic today in a rather long post.
I would just like to say that while I do champion Montessori education, there are a few concepts that I personally do not necessarily agree with, and perhaps you might not either. But overall, the concept and design is a wonderful tool for creating independent, self-disciplined and self-confident children. I apologize if there is any incorrect information in this post and welcome you to comment or correct any mistakes you see.
First of all, the Montessori Method is a comprehensive educational approach based on the observation of children's needs in a variety of cultures all around the world. Dr. Maria Montessori developed the method based on her experiences with children in different cultures. It is based on the premise that all children naturally develop heightened sensitivities, interests and abilities at different stages of their development.
The concepts center around the "Prepared Environment" in which children can work on activities of their own choice and at their own pace, as well as the "Materials" which are arranged in an orderly manner.

There is a great Squidoo Lens called "Montessori Education" with a description of Montessori concepts and theories, resources for parents (such as where you can buy materials, ideas for snacks, songs, and books. You can find it here.

If you'd like to to buy or check out any books on this topic, I have created a comprehensive list here.

There are quite a few blogs on this subject, but my favorite is Montessori by Hand. Written by Meg McElwee, a teacher in...I think it is Chihuahua, Mexico? Somewhere close to the border. The photo above is taken from her blog, which is a beautiful mix of her life in Mexico, the crafts that she seems to create so effortlessly (and quickly), and the Montessori method. She also has an excellent children's book list for Montessori-minded parents.

If you are looking for a comprehensive web site, the North American Montessori Teachers' Association has many resources available for both teachers and parents.

And if you are looking for basic material kits that complement the different areas of study (ie, language, science, math, practical life and sensorial) the Early Learning Materials GROUP has an on-line store with a wide variety of products to help you create the right learning situations. They also offer complimentary telephone support to their customers, so if you have any questions or would like help determining what materials fit your budget, you can just pick up the phone and give them a call.

Okay. I hope you have found all this information helpful. The concepts of Montessori really are a wonderful gift that you can give your children.

¡Un abrazo a todos!

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