Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Montessori: Methodology? Equipment?

When parents first visit a Montessori classroom, the equipment makes a big impression, especially if there is no class underway during the visit. For parents who are researching Montessori online without access to a classroom, equipment makes an even bigger impression.

Interestingly, Chandra Fernando, a Montessori teacher and teacher trainer for over 30 years, feels that this emphasis on equipment is beginning to detract from the most important focus, namely, the methodology and the thought process behind Montessori education. She implored us to share with our readers her feelings that methodology should be the primary focus of parents who want to use Montessori at home, whether on a homeschool basis or just as a general approach to interacting and teaching their children at home.

If you are new to Montessori, here are a few suggestions to get you started with implementing the methodology:
  1. Create a child-accessible environment that allows your child to pursue independence in daily activities such as using the bathroom, making healthy snacks, working with his or her games and educational materials, and maintaining an orderly atmosphere.
  2. An orderly atmosphere means no blaring televisions and squabbling or loud adults. This might only be possible to achieve in your child's bedroom or a study, but a calm and orderly atmosphere means your child will have a chance to develop his or her own internal sense of calm and order, so it is worth it.
  3. Teach by example. This goes for everything from using the Movable Alphabet letters to make words to using manners to discipline.
  4. Adult-child interactions should be respectful. No yelling. This goes for both parties.
  5. A moot point for most of our readers, but it is important to emphasize that you should not spank or slap your child. Lori at Montessori for Everyone has written extensively on this topic.
This is just to get started. We will be writing up a short series of interviews with various teachers and sharing them with you on our blog in the coming weeks.

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