IMA Montessori School

THE KNOWLEDGE CENTER: Indiana Montessori Academy

Thank you for taking the time to visit our site and wanting to learn more about the value of Montessori education. These pages will direct you to available resources including online materials for both parents and children, material suppliers and more. We also host parent education nights to provide information on Montessoir education. If you want more information on IMA or our Primary Program or to attend a parent education night, please contact us directly.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

 
GENERAL QUESTIONS:

Where did Montessori come from?

Where can I find a good, brief, introduction to Montessori from birth through the school years?

What is the difference between Montessori and traditional education?

Can I do Montessori at home with my child?

What materials are used?

Are Montessori schools religious?

Is Montessori good for children with learning disabilities?

Are Montessori children successful later in life?

Why do children use the materials individually? They learn to share?
Are the children free to do anything?

If I choose a traditional public or private elementary school for my child, how will he/she adjust?

 

MONTESSORI METHODS:

The schedule - The three-hour work period

Multi-age grouping

Work centers

Teaching method - "Teach by teaching, not by correcting"

Teaching Ratio - 1:1 and 1:30+

Basic lessons

Areas of study

Class size

Learning styles

Assessments

Requirements for age 0-6

Requirements for ages 6-18

Character education

 

 

GENERAL QUESTIONS

From the International Montessori Index

 

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Where did Montessori come from?

Montessori (pronounced MON-tuh-SORE-ee) education was founded in 1907 by Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman in Italy to become a physician. She based her educational methods on scientific observation of children's learning processes. Guided by her discovery that children teach themselves, Dr. Montessori designed a "prepared environment" in which children could freely choose from a number of developmentally appropriate activities. Now, nearly a century after Maria Montessori's first casa dei bambini ("children's house") in Rome, Montessori education is found all over the world, spanning ages from birth to adolescence.

 

Where can I find a good, brief, introduction to Montessori from birth through the school years?

At the Michael Olaf Montessori "text" site there is actually an E-book of Montessori philosophy and practice: www.michaelolaf.net.

 


What is the difference between Montessori and traditional education?

Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning. Montessori classes place children in three-year age groups (3-6, 6-9, 9-12, and so on), forming communities in which the older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger ones. Montessori represents an entirely different approach to education.


What is the Difference in Montessori versus Traditional Education
 

Montessori Education

 

Traditional Education

Emphasis on cognitive structures and social development
 

 

Emphasis on rote knowledge and social development

Teacher's role is unobtrusive; child actively participates in learning
 

 

Teacher's role is dominant, active; child is a passive participant

Environment and method encourage internal self-discipline
 

 

Teacher is primary enforcer of external discipline

Individual and group instruction adapts to each student's learning style
 

 

Individual and group instruction conforms to the adult's teaching style

Mixed-age grouping
 

 

Same-age grouping

Children encouraged to teach, collaborate, and help each other
 

 

Most teaching done by teacher and collaboration is discouraged

Child formulates concepts from self-teaching materials
 

 

Child is guided to concepts by teacher

Child sets own pace to internalize information
 

 

Instruction pace set by group norm or teacher

Child works as long as he/she wants on a chosen project
 

 

Child usually is given specific time for work

Child spots own errors through feedback from material
 

 

Errors corrected by teacher

Learning is reinforced internally through child's own repetition of activity, internal feelings of success
 

 

Learning is reinforced externally by rewards, discouragement

Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration development
 

 

Few materials for sensory, concrete manipulation

Organized program for learning care of self and self-care environment (shoe polishing, sink washing, etc.)
 

 

Little emphasis on instruction or classroom maintenance

Child can work where he/she is comfortable; the child moves and talks at will (yet doesn't disturb others); group work is voluntary and negotiable
 

 

Child assigned seat; encouraged to sit still and listen during group sessions

Organized program for parents to understand the Montessori philosophy and participate in the learning process

 

Voluntary parent involvement, often only as fundraisers, not participants in understanding the learning process

 


Can I do Montessori at home with my child?

Yes, you can use Montessori principles of child development at home. Look at your home through your child's eyes. Children need a sense of belonging, and they get it by participating fully in the routines of everyday life. "Help me do it by myself" is the life theme of the preschooler. Can you find ways for your child to participate in meal preparation, cleaning, gardening, caring for clothes, shoes, and toys? Providing opportunities for independence is the surest way to build your child's self-esteem.


At the school level many homeschooling and other parents use the Montessori philosophy of following the child's interest and not interrupting concentration to educate their children.


In school only a trained Montessori teacher can properly implement Montessori education, using the specialized learning equipment of the Montessori "prepared environment." Here social development comes from being in a positive and unique environment with other children -- an integral part of Montessori education.

 


What materials are used?

It is the philosophy and the knowledge of the teacher that is essential in the success of a Montessori class.  One must be wary of the use of the words "Montessori materials" as many people today use the words as a selling point for materials that have no use in the Montessori classroom and can be distracting and impede a child's progress.


The "sensorial," math, and some of the language and cultural materials (metal insets, sandpaper letters, puzzle maps, bells, for example) are professionally manufactured according to traditional standards that have been tested over many years. However even some of these are made by newer companies that do not fully understand the reason for certain details and so produce materials that are not as successful. There is a "materials committee" in Holland that oversees the quality of materials used in an AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) school, for example.


Montessori, for very good reasons, make many of their own practical life and language material instead of buying them—as they learn to do in their training, depending on where in the world they live. They gather practical life materials piece by piece. This is an important process that gives a unique quality to each classroom that expresses the culture, and ideas of beauty in each community—instead of all classrooms looking alike with no personal touches.


Materials in the classroom, without being used correctly by a trained teacher, are usually worthless in creating a real Montessori class, but they can help in some ways in non-Montessori situations. For example the math materials have been used to teach a concept sensorially thus helping a child to make the abstraction. Educational materials in the Montessori method serve a very different purpose than in traditional education where the text books are ordered and the teacher learns how to use them. This difference is because in Montessori the child learns from the environment, and it is the teacher's job to put the child in touch with the environment, not to "teach" the child. Thus the creation of the environment, and selection of materials, is done mostly by the teacher and is very important.


In Montessori education having too many materials is often worse than not having enough. In this country (USA) there are many materials suppliers, unfortunately, who are not Montessori trained and do not understand the purpose of materials, and who sell items that scatter the child's energy, or waste time, clutter the environment, etc. It is very important to choose carefully when selecting materials for using the Montessori method of education in school or in the home.

 


Are Montessori schools religious?

Some are, but most are not. Some Montessori schools, just like other schools, operate under the auspices of a church, synagogue, or diocese, but most are independent of any religious affiliations.


Is Montessori good for children with learning disabilities?

Montessori is designed to help all children reach their fullest potential at their own unique pace. A classroom whose children have varying abilities is a community in which everyone learns from one another and everyone contributes. Moreover, multiage grouping allows each child to find his or her own pace without feeling "ahead" or "behind" in relation to peers.


Are Montessori children successful later in life?

Research studies show that Montessori children are well prepared for later life academically, socially, and emotionally. In addition to scoring well on standardized tests, Montessori children are ranked above average on such criteria as following directions, turning in work on time, listening attentively, using basic skills, showing responsibility, asking provocative questions, showing enthusiasm for learning, and adapting to new situations.


Why do children use the materials individually? They learn to share?

The children need freedom to explore the materials without 'interruptions. Just as adults dislike distractions when involved in a task, children prefer to complete their activities without distractions. In the Montessori environment, they develop their ability to focus their attention. Without unnecessary interruptions, their attention span increases and they develop concentration skills. Before children spontaneously share, they must feel free not to share. In the Montessori environment, the adults protect the right to explore an activity by themselves at their own pace. Sharing evolves naturally from the classroom experience. When they desire, they share by communicating and helping others. The sharing is natural and spontaneous because it comes from within the child, rather than being forced arbitrary by an adult.

 

Are the children free to do anything?

The children are free to explore the environment and interpersonal relationships in constructive ways and within limits. The underlying theme is respect; the adult respects the individuality of each child, the children learn that others have needs and fights, and that they must respect those needs and rights, the children are free to explore only so long as their explorations do not include actions that hurt or disturb any other child. The children learn that what is good for the group is acceptable and what is not good for the group is unacceptable.

 

If I choose a traditional public or private elementary school for my child, how will he/she adjust?

Our goal is to prepare children for life's experiences. We prepare them in the academic area so that most children enter first grade reading or on the brink of reading. They have a firm understanding of the concept of numbers and the decimal system. Their abilities to organize themselves and to solve problems are excellent. Their listening skills and their abilities to respect others and participate in the community are remarkable. Their confidence and communication skills are very high. Most importantly of all, they love school and learning and have positive feelings about themselves. These qualities are assets in any setting.

 

MONTESSORI METHODS:

From the International Montessori Index


The schedule - The three-hour work period

Under the age of six, there are one or two 3-hour, uninterrupted, work periods each day, not broken up by required group lessons. Older children schedule meetings or study groups with each other the teacher when necessary. Adults and children respect concentration and do not interrupt someone who is busy at a task. Groups form spontaneously or are arranged ahead by special appointment. They almost never take precedence over self-selected work. Note: For more information on the "three-hour work period" see the chapter "My Contribution to Experimental Science" from The Advanced Montessori Method, Volume I, by Dr. Maria Montessori.


Multi-age grouping

Children are grouped in mixed ages and abilities in three to six year spans: 0-3, 3-6, 6-12 (sometimes temporarily 6-9 and 9-12), 12-15, 15-18. There is constant interaction, problem solving, child to child teaching, and socialization. Children are challenged according to their ability and never bored. The Montessori middle and high school teacher ideally has taken all three training courses plus graduate work in an academic area or areas.


Work centers

The environment is arranged according to subject area, and children are always free to move around the room instead of staying at desks. There is no limit to how long a child can work with a piece of material. At any one time in a day all subjects -- math, language, science, history, geography, art, music, etc., will be being studied, at all levels.


Teaching method - "Teach by teaching, not by correcting"

There are no papers turned back with red marks and corrections. Instead the child's effort and work is respected as it is. The teacher, through extensive observation and record-keeping, plans individual projects to enable each child to learn what he needs in order to improve.


Teaching Ratio - 1:1 and 1:30+

Except for infant/toddler groups (Ratio dictated by local social service regulations), the teaching ratio is one trained Montessori teacher and one non-teaching aide to 30+ children. Rather than lecturing to large or small groups of children, the teacher is trained to teach one child at a time, and to oversee thirty or more children working on a broad array of tasks. She is facile in the basic lessons of math, language, the arts and sciences, and in guiding a child's research and exploration, capitalizing on his interest in and excitement about a subject. The teacher does not make assignments or dictate what to study or read, nor does she set a limit as to how far a child follows an interest.


Basic lessons

The Montessori teacher spends a lot of time during teacher training practicing the many lessons with materials in all areas. She must pass a written and oral exam on these lessons in order to be certified. She is trained to recognize a child's readiness according to age, ability, and interest in a specific lesson, and is prepared to guide individual progress.


Areas of study

All subjects are interwoven, not taught in isolation, the teacher modeling a "Renaissance" person of broad interests for the children. A child can work on any material he understands at any time.


Class size

Except for infant/toddler groups, the most successful classes are of 30-35 children to one teacher (who is very well trained for the level she is teaching), with one non-teaching assistant. This is possible because the children stay in the same group for three to six years and much of the teaching comes from the children and the environment.


Learning styles

All kinds of intelligences and styles of learning are nurtured: musical, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, intuitive, and the traditional linguistic and logical-mathematical (reading, writing, and math). This particular model is backed up by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences.


Assessments

There are no grades, or other forms of reward or punishment, subtle or overt. Assessment is by portfolio and the teacher's observation and record keeping. The test of whether or not the system is working lies in the accomplishment and behavior of the children, their happiness, maturity, kindness, and love of learning and level of work.


Requirements for age 0-6

There are no academic requirements for this age, but children are exposed to amazing amounts of knowledge and often learn to read, write and calculate beyond what is usually thought interesting to a child of this age.


Requirements for ages 6-18

The teacher remains alert to the interests of each child and facilitates individual research in following interests. There are no curriculum requirements except those set by the state, or college entrance requirements, for specific grade levels. These take a minimum amount of time. From age six on, students design contracts with the teacher to guide their required work, to balance their general work, and to teach them to become responsible for their own time management and education. The work of the 6+ class includes subjects usually not introduced until high school or college.


Character education

Education of character is considered equally with academic education, children learning to take care of themselves, their environment, each other - cooking, cleaning, building, gardening, moving gracefully, speaking politely, being considerate and helpful, doing social work in the community, etc.



Located in the Village of WestClay, IMA is a convenient location if you are looking for Carmel Montessori schools or Indianapolis Montessori schools
 

LIKE US:

Village of WestClay
12760 Horseferry Road, Suite 100
Carmel, Indiana 46032
317.569.1290
email:
info@indianamontessoriacademy.org

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