As the nation struggles to cope with a failing education system, concerned parents are looking for a viable answer in educating their children. While people blame various characteristics of the public education system for its failure, the truth is, adults have been educating children like adults when they need do be educated like children. If you want your children to be an environment that is tailored specifically to them, one of the best things you can do is check out a Montessori after-school care program; they are almost sure to learn more there than in their regular classroom.
The Amazing Montessori
Maria Montessori was an amazing woman who lived in Italy from 1870-1952. During the course of her life, she excelled in mathematics and science, eventually earning a degree in medicine from the University of Rome. After graduating with her degree, she began working with and studying children. This work led her to pursue a second degree in philosophy, which, at the time, focused a great deal on psychology. In light of observations made during her work with children and the information she gleaned from her two degrees, Montessori put together a thesis that changed the way children were educated across the globe.
A Light in the Dark
In her work, Montessori discovered that when properly directed, children take an interest in learning. When provided the right type of environment and the right kind of tools, children take charge of their own learning. What many people fail to realize is that the motivating factor behind the actions of children is the desire to gain independence and gain a place in society. If children are offered the opportunity to build skills that are within their skill level, or even just on the periphery of their skill level, they will perform the task over and over until they get it right. There is no reward and punishment system necessary to get children to learn.
The Freedom to Choose
Montessori also noticed that children learn best when they are interested in what they are learning. For this reason, she created an open classroom where children were free to work in one area for awhile and then, once their task was completed, move to another area that interested them. Montessori observed that, like adults, there were times when children wanted to be around others and times when they did not. For this reason, she designated certain areas as group areas and others as individual areas and allowed the children to choose which to attend.
What to Expect
Modern day Montessori classrooms are set up in very much the same way, with some modifications made in light of modern research about childhood development. One of the most stunning features of the modern Montessori method is that classrooms are set up not by age, but by skill level. While you most certainly won’t find a seven-year-old in class with a two-year-old, you will, generally, find children from the ages of 2-4 together. The way the system works is that each classroom has a specific set of skills to be mastered. Each child has their very own checklist and is allowed to complete and pass off skills in their own time. As you can well imagine, this prevents the problem of no child getting ahead while the teachers work to make sure no child is left behind. When you opt for a Montessori after-school care program, you are opting for a hands-on, personalized education.