If you've read our article "What is Montessori," you will already know the basic concepts of the Montessori method and how it came to be. In this article, we will dive deeper into what a Montessori school looks like.
Katelynn Johnson, the founder of Montessori Mother ELC, Germany’s 1st Montessori Early Learning Center, will share with us what Montessori School likes like in terms of the classroom, the students and the teachers.
(To be more specific, a Montessori school is any place of learning for children 0-18 years old. Katelynn's learning center is considered a school, which focuses on the 0-3 and 3-6 age groups. This is different from the German translation of „Schule,“ which refers only to elementary aged children.)
Through Montessori education, children gain a love for learning, reach their full potential, and become free-thinking individuals who make this world a better place.
So let's hear what that looks like in practice, keeping in mind that each age groups is quite different.
The Montessori Classroom
Here's what a typical Montessori classroom looks like:
A series of specific educational materials are designed through research to meet each stage of the child’s cognitive, physical, linguistic, academic, social and emotional development.
All learning materials are available on shelves for children to choose from at any time.
Work cycles are 2-4 hours long. This is the time when children focus on their individual tasks.
Most Montessori classrooms in the world are bilingual or trilingual to support the child’s language development potential.
Different types of materials, or study areas, are divided into fully-functional zones like in a house. There is an art area, math area, a kitchen, a movement area, etc.
All the furniture, materials, decorations, etc. are child-sized and accessible at the child’s level.
Classrooms are beautiful, quiet, peaceful, and full of natural light.
The classroom includes all different kinds of sensory experiences in a gentle way: stimulating, but not over-stimulating. There is an indoor and outdoor area; there are all different materials (wood, metal, cloth, glass, stone...); and there are all kinds of colors.
There are no gender associations behind any colors, activities, etc. in Montessori schools.
You will not find fantasy or imaginary play toys in a Montessori classroom. Instead the classroom supports the child’s need to understand reality and be an active part of their community.
Here's how Montessori children learn:
Students have freedom of movement instead of being confined to desks.
Children learn from working with the materials in the carefully prepared classroom, instead of from listening to a teacher’s group dictations.
Classrooms include a mixed age group of children with a 3 year difference.
Working and playing together is encouraged and spontaneous.
Children work at their own pace through more advanced materials than are available in traditional schools.
Children prepare their own food and clean up after themselves. (Yes, even babies from 12 months old are preparing food – simple things like peeling and cutting banana. Babies around 8 months clean up their own table after eating – it’s pretty impressive when you see it!)
Every child has equal opportunities to follow their interests, regardless of age or gender.
In addition to academics, children learn practical life skills like sewing, woodworking, cleaning, cooking, and gardening.
Here's how Montessori teachers work with the children:
Teachers in the classroom are development specialists for the specific age group they teach (0-3y, 3-6y, 6-12y, 12-18y). We have extensive training in order to become a certified Montessori teacher.
Teachers prepare the classroom environment and materials instead of preparing lessons for the whole class.
Teachers work with every child individually to manage their personalized curriculum and make sure all their academic needs are being met.
Teachers are able to work with each child in the way the child learns best, helping each one to succeed and reach their full learning potential.
Montessori teachers understand that we do not give children knowledge. Knowledge is something children take on their own from the world. It is our job to be the link between the child and their environment.
Montessori Mother ELC (Early Learning Center) in Berlin offers a variety of different Montessori playgroups and classes, from newborn through 7 years of age. Be sure to sign up early to secure a spot!