Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Montessori - Why it Matters for your Child's Success and Happiness

Today,  we have a guest post by author and educator Charlotte Cushman. 

Contrary to what most people think, the sole purpose of education is not just to fill a child up with lots of information.  When a child grows up, he will need to know how to take what he knows and apply it in order to survive in the world.  He will need to know how to make decisions, how to prioritize, how to discern between right and wrong and so on.  In short, he will need to know how to think, and since thinking does not happen automatically, reasoning skills is what he needs to be taught.  The Montessori Method does exactly that.
The thinking process starts with identifying the facts of reality.  An entire area of the pre-elementary classroom is devoted to the identification of reality through the use of the senses.  In addition, the entire Montessori classroom has self-correcting materials so that the child can figure out for himself what is true or false, the causes of events, the effects of actions and numerous other aspects of the real world.
Montessori children learn facts, but they learn them along with the ability to logically unite them together.  The child forms concepts based on the facts of reality and then goes on to learn new concepts based on the first ones he learned.  Any new knowledge is consistent with what he has learned before. His learning also occurs in a logical sequence.  He does not learn fractions, for example, until he has a concept of whole numbers. In history he does not skip around from event to event or merely memorize a bunch of dates, he learns history in the order that it happened.  Concepts are presented to the child in order, progressing from simple to complex, concrete to abstract, in incremental steps that he can recognize and understand.  This is important because everything that we know depends on what we learned before, what we had to understand in order to grasp the next concept. Thinking is based on these sound principles of reality, consistency and order and because learning happens logically in Montessori, the child feels that he can comprehend the world. 
 Another essential element to the child’s development is the ability to concentrate.  Montessori thought that concentration lays the foundation for the child’s character, social behavior, intelligence, body control, academic success, morality, etc. Thus, she created another area in the classroom devoted to learning concentration.  In order to learn how to concentrate, a child needs to be allowed to work independently, without interruption and he needs to practice and repeat his work as much as he needs until he feels satisfied that he understands it.   Without understanding what he is learning, the child will be hampered-- he will memorize information, only to forget it shortly thereafter.  This does not teach a child how to think, but rather, teaches him how to forget and leaves him with a poor memory.
The child’s mind is the only thing that can bring him success and happiness and its method of development is crucial. The only educational system that I know of that has a specialized, integrated methodology for the specific purpose of teaching a child how to think is Montessori.

To read more about Why Montessori Matters visit Charlotte Cushman's website.http://whymontessorimatters.wix.com/montessorimatters

To purchase Charlotte's book visit Amazon.

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