10 Words To Know From The Montessori Dictionary
The Montessori Method is unique. Our multifaceted approach is different from typical public schools, and with that, involves some specialized terminology. Whether you’re a current or prospective parent, or simply someone interested in learning more about the Montessori way, here are ten words to know from the Montessori dictionary.
Absorbent Mind: From infancy until the age of six, children go through a period of intense mental growth. This is when a child develops language and discovers the world spontaneously. Kids at this age are able to “absorb” information from their surrounding environment naturally without much effort.
Casa dei Bambini: Casa dei Bambini, meaning “children’s house” in Italian, was the name of the first school Maria Montessori opened in 1907. It was in this low income district in Italy where the Montessori Method was born, and from there it has spread globally ever since.
Concrete to abstract: The “concrete to abstract” philosophy is applied to many curricula at Living Montessori. This concept means we build a foundation for your child’s understanding by starting with concrete concepts and then moving on to a more abstract idea. An example of this is through our math curriculum, where students learn the decimal system through tactile work with beads and other objects.
Cosmic Education: Maria Montessori’s teaching philosophy addressed the importance of children understanding the universe around them. She emphasized the importance of understanding the solar system, the galaxy, and Earth as it relates to the larger cosmos. Students build their understanding of the world around them, and how the past has shaped the world they live in today.
Erkinder: In German, “Erkinder” translates to “child of the Earth.” This philosophy drives our organic gardening and outdoor learning programs. We believe children need to do more than understand reading, writing, math and science; they need to know how to cultivate and care for the world they live in.
Planes of development – These refer to the four periods of growth a person goes through as they age and grow. Each stage of development and growth builds upon the last. These four periods include:
- Age six and under: Discovery and learning through the absorbent mind
- Ages six to 12: Exploring reasoning and the abstract
- Ages 12 – 18: Building a concept of social self and developing values and beliefs
- Ages 18 – 24: Developing a concept of self and place in the world
Practical Life: Practical life and “practical life activities” refer to how children learn to take care of their home, classroom, and their immediate surroundings. This involves learning about hygiene, exploring courtesy and empathy, and working independently to navigate real life situations.
Prepared environment: At Montessori schools, teachers prepare the learning environment with purpose and order. They strategically shape the classroom environment to best suit kids’ learning needs. This ranges from tactile materials, to seating arrangements that are suited to individual and group work.
Sensorial exercises: Sensorial exercises are used to develop and hone the five senses. Children explore the world through interacting with it, and build foundations for concrete learning through honing their bodies and self control.
The 3-period lesson: Our lessons are often shaped into three periods to best enable your child’s ability to learn. The first is the “naming period” where a teacher will explain what something is. For example, the teacher will tell the students “this is a square.” Then comes the recognition period, where students will be asked to identify what they just learned. For example, a student will have several shaped blocks in front of them and they will be asked which one is the square. The final stage is recall, where students will be asked to recall what they learned from memory. We believe this method helps students fully understand and develop mastery of concepts in class.
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