Because you only get one opportunity to learn HOW to think.
At its most basic level, a Montessori education is a mode of thinking and problem-solving. The Montessori education fosters independent thinking and interdependent problem-solving, encouraging creativity and curiosity. Traditional education normalizes the way of thinking and standardizes the problem-solving abilities, stifling creativity and curiosity. A Montessori curriculum is the prepared environment where intelligence can grow exponentially.
Here are some of the most differentiating features of Montessori and Traditional modes of education.
- Student Driven
- Prepared Environment
- Internal Rewards
- Concentration (3 hr. uninterrupted work period)
- Responsibility for self and environment
- Freedom and Choices of Lessons
- A Comfort with Error
- Teacher directed
- Teach to the test
- External rewards
- 30-minute increments
- Most responsibilities are external of self
- Work at the lowest common denominator
- Fear of Error (Grading and Testing)
The Lower Elementary curriculum is a 3-year program, comprised of the 5 Great Lessons: Universe, Life, Humans, Language and Math. Each Lesson is repeated each year. The child has a new perspective each year, and it meets them where they are, and offers self-exploration from there. The 5 Great Lessons are facts through story and no subject is taught in isolation. There is something to spark the interest in each child.
Overview of Elementary Curriculum – Five Star Curriculum
- Language Arts (Reading, Writing, Spelling, Dictionary Skills, Poetry, Penmanship, Parts of Speech)
- Math (Geometry Cabinet, Constructive Triangles, Sticks and Nomenclatures, Multiplication and Division, Fractions, Factors and Multiples)
- Advanced Practical Life (Cooking, Gardening, Sewing, Etiquette)
- Humans/History (Origin of the Universe, Concept of Time, Ancient Civilizations, Human Needs Throughout Time)
- Universe/Science (Zoology, Botany, Matter and Astronomy, Science Experiments)
Additional Components of Cosmic Education
Maria Montessori believed that a healthy mind, body, and spirit are essential for success. To encourage creative expression and problem-solving, to make a positive contribution to the world, and to discover good health is a pleasure.
- Altruism – sense of community, concern of others
- Self-control – patience, graciousness, internalized reward
- Power of choice – personal satisfaction
- Self-enunciation – make the world work for me
- Art of Diplomacy – handling relationships and peaceful resolutions
- Problem-solving – ability to solve problems from different ways
Herein lies, the secret ingredients of Montessori education. It is being labeled by researchers, as EQ (Emotional Intelligence) or the Executive Function, the ability to adapt, problem-solve, reason, and possess social responsibility.
This is for those looking for something MORE THAN just a traditional education. In the historical time line, we are transitioning from the Technological Era to the Enlightened Era, just as we have moved from Agricultural to Industrial to Technological in years past. A traditional education will be insufficient, if not obsolete, for the leaders of tomorrow.