What is the Montessori Method? How we teach at MIS Vietnam
In the early 1900s Italian physician and educator, Maria Montessori developed the now world famous ‘Montessori Method’. Since then, the method has been adopted by 20,000 schools across the world. Famous graduates of Montessori schools include Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of Google are Montessori graduates and so is Taylor Swift! Regularly reported to help students to develop more quickly than with other educational methods, Montessori is a name known worldwide. But what exactly is the Montessori method?
What is the Montessori Method?
Very simply, the Montessori method is a way of educating young learners that focuses on independent, active learning. Children are encouraged to follow their own interests, and learning is allowed to occur at a speed suitable for each child.
Of course, there is much more to the Montessori method than just letting a child do what they want. The approach actually has 5 key aspects to consider:
1. The Montessori Environment
2. The Montessori Materials
3. The Montessori Teacher
4. The Montessori Curriculum
5. The Montessori Student
Here we’ll explain more about each aspect and how they support your child to become an independent and confident learner.
When you walk into a classroom at any of the MIS campuses, you’ll notice one thing right away. Our classrooms are open, welcoming spaces, designed with young learners in mind. All of the furniture is ‘child sized’. Tables and chairs are organised so that working in a group or working on their own is easy. The décor is simple, and the room is tidy. This is a Montessori classroom.
Because the Montessori method encourages your child to be independent, our classrooms are designed to provide freedom. Children are free to explore the room at their own pace. Each area of the room has a theme, inspired by the curriculum, where materials and books are available for the children to access. Each child can choose the material that interests them from the shelf, and put it back when they are done. The Montessori classroom is a great place for children to explore.
Montessori classes are also mixed age. By grouping children into 3 age groups (‘below 3 years’, ‘3 to 6 years’, and ‘6 to 12’ years, our classrooms become a place where children can learn from each other. Our classrooms are places where children build soft skills, such as teamwork and respect, and gain experience in creating social relationships.
If you are looking for an environment to encourage confidence and social skills, the Montessori classroom is one of the best!
2. Montessori Materials
Take a look around a Montessori classroom and you’ll see that all of the materials are high quality and well maintained. They are also carefully selected to encourage ‘hands on’ learning. Key classroom materials, such as the Movable Alphabet and Bead Cabinet, may look like toys, but they are scientifically designed to allow young learners to explore and investigate in an independent way.
As your child develops, so do the materials. All of the materials used at The Montessori International School of Vietnam are carefully chosen to be suitable for the stage of development your child is in. Materials such as maps and building blocks become more complicated as your child develops. This means your child learns how to overcome challenges and develop confidence as they go.
If you are looking for an environment that challenges but also supports your child, the Montessori classroom is an excellent choice.
3. The Montessori Teacher
At MIS, all of our teachers are highly trained and certified by internationally recognised training providers. But in a Montessori school, a ‘teacher’ is a little different from what you may have experienced when you were at school!
Maria Montessori originally called the adults in her classroom ‘the directress’. Nowadays, they are better referred to as ‘a guide’. The goal of a Montessori teacher is to intervene as little as possible with your child’s exploration and self-discovery. Our teachers want to guide your child to think and act for themselves. Our teachers want to assist your child to develop confidence and learn self-discipline.
Of course, this does not mean that your child is alone. Teachers at The Montessori International School of Vietnam carefully observe their students so that they can understand their needs and identify their interests. When students are ready for a new lesson, our teachers are on hand to introduce new materials and activities for group or individual work. When students are a little older, the teacher will provide weekly goals so that each child learns to manage their time and complete tasks in a satisfying way.
If you are looking for a curriculum that prioritises individual needs rather than exam results, a Montessori school will certainly do that.
As we mentioned earlier, The Montessori curriculum is divided into age groups rather than school years. Key aspects of each age group are summarised below. If you would like more detailed information about the curriculums please contact us at (+84) 28 3744 2639 / 0822 040 033 or email email@example.com and we will be happy to give you more details.
Nursery / Pre-School (Birth to 3 years old)
The Montessori method believes the foundations for a child's future are set during the first three years of life. At this stage, a child’s ‘absorbent mind’ learns through experiences, emotions, images and language, just by experiencing everyday life.
In this period, from birth to 3 years old, the Montessori curriculum concentrates on the development of language, coordinated movement and independence. In a carefully prepared, safe environment, your child will develop the intellectual and physical skills to be confident enough to discover their own place in the world.
Kindergarten / Primary (3 to 6 years old)
The Montessori curriculum for children from 3 to 6 years old is divided into five working areas:
Practical Life: where familiar activities such as tidying, washing and setting the table teach your child to take care of the people they live with, and the environment they live in.
Language: where existing language skills are developed as your child starts to read and write. With these new skills your child starts to explore the world around them. They will enjoy a variety of activities that introduce geography, history, art and music.
Mathematics: where concrete materials are used to help your child understand mathematical concepts and lay the foundations for algebra and geometry.
Sensorial: where your child’s senses (touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing) are used to explore the world around them.
Cultural: where your child learns about the connections between all living things by completing activities that introduce the ideas of continents and countries, plants and animals and the human body.
At this crucial stage, we aim to give you child experiences that help them to develop a variety of essential skills.
Elementary (6 to 12 years old)
At this later developmental stage, the Montessori curriculum is based upon five ‘Great Lessons’. Each of these lessons is designed to inspire your child’s imagination, build curiosity and develop creativity.
Each of the 5 great lessons lay a path for your child to make experiments and to explore their place in the world. A brief outline is given below, but if you wish to hear more about the elementary curriculum at the Montessori International School of Vietnam please contact us at (+84) 28 3744 2639 / 0822 040 033 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Universe and the Earth
Astronomy, meteorology, chemistry, physics, geology, geography
Biology, the environment, evolution of life, zoology, botany
- Human Beings
History, culture, social studies, scientific discoveries and inventions
Reading, writing, linguistics, language structures, literature
Mathematics, the origin of numbers, systems of numbers, geometry
5. The Montessori Child
Dr. Montessori believed that teachers should "follow the child". This means that they should identify the needs of each child, at each developmental stage and provide a supportive environment to satisfy those needs.
Between childhood to adulthood Maria Montessori identified 4 developmental stages or ‘Planes of Development’. Each stage is very different from the other. Dr Montessori also realised that “The more fully the needs of one period are met, the greater will be the success of the next."
By supporting your child’s needs at every stage of their development, the curriculum at The Montessori International School of Vietnam is always focused on helping your child reach their full potential.
For more than 100 years, the Montessori method has been encouraging young learners to ask questions, make connections, work together, be creative and learn independently. If you are interested to hear more about how your child can develop these essential skills for the 21st Century, please contact us at (+84) 28 3744 2639 / 0822 040 033 or email email@example.com to find out more.
Image source: The Montessori International School of Vietnam