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What is the Advanced Montessori Approach?

Montessori education and equipment simply gives children a head start in life.

Children are supported to unfold their own potential by giving them the freedom to explore an environment that is designed to meet their developmental and individual learning needs and that enables them to lead their own learning. Children are helped to develop their self-esteem, self-awareness and self-discipline in order to become socially responsible and active citizens.

The main features of the Montessori approach

An enriched environment: You will find a well-ordered, aesthetically pleasing, consistent, and predictable, which helps children to feel secure and encourages their exploration. Every activity has a designated space, and activities may be laid out on trays with all the objects needed in a logical place, such as left to right in the order of use. Order is thought to support children’s freedom of choice as well as self-guided learning, and to help the child to organise their perceptions as they make sense of the world.

Freedom and responsibility: Children have freedom of choice, but their choices are limited by the materials available and by the expectation that they act constructively and take responsibility for their own actions, in line with a particular focus on self-discipline and social behaviour. Activities are often focused on putting things in order, putting things in their proper place, or making them clean, which is thought to help children to focus their attention and learn to carry out a sequence of steps, as well as to support children’s feelings of competence.

Self-directed learning and self-discipline: Children are supported in their own ‘self-construction’, which involves believing in and trusting the child’s capacity to make good decisions and learn independently. Children choose an activity to take from the shelf and their discovery and problem-solving are closely guided by the structure and design of materials. The uniquely designed materials are designed to scaffold children’s activities through strategies such as colour coding and built-in control of error.

Active movement: There is a significant link between cognition and the body and emotions and therefore sought to stimulate conceptual thought through nature, movement, and aesthetics.

Movement is seen as crucial to cognitive development, and most activities involve manipulating objects with the hands or moving the whole body.

Sensory discrimination: Particular importance is placed on helping children refine their sensory capacities (including visual, auditory, tactile and chromatic or colour sense), to discriminate increasingly complex properties, and to categorise these by sorting, matching, pairing and making patterns. These sensory experiences are thought to underpin the conceptual development essential to later academic learning.

Observation: Recognition of the individuality of each child makes observation a key pedagogical tool for understanding children’s learning and planning appropriate activities. Children’s freedom to move, choose and engage in self-directed activities enables them to reveal their interests and potential and enables educators to gain an understanding of how to support their learning.

Research on motivation shows that choice and a sense of control over one’s activity and environment is linked to improved performance and increased engagement, concentration and persistence in tasks, enhanced wellbeing, positive self-concept, and improved learning, memory and problem-solving. The ability to become totally absorbed in an activity, shares connections with the flow theory of optimal experience, and substantial research associates flow with positive outcomes for children.

Research on the link between movement and cognition demonstrates the link between activity and increased brain functioning and the relationship between the motor skills of infants and their social understanding. Other studies show that children’s representations of space and objects are enhanced when movement is involved, and that hand gestures improve spatial problem-solving and spatial reasoning.

Research supporting sensitive periods provides evidence that children are drawn to stimuli that are both novel and at the right level of complexity for extending their current understanding, for example, infants are drawn to exactly the right complexity of patterns needed to support their current visual development.

Research supporting order, routines and organisation finds that children who environments are more organised and have distinctive routines, have better cognitive, psychological and social outcomes. Studies also show that information that is organised conceptually, for example grouped by theme or according to associations between ideas, as opposed to randomly is easier to learn or remember.

Research focused on the importance of early sensory experience shows that greater stimulus in terms of sensory input positively affects the organisation and architecture of the brain and that early sensory experiences provide an important foundation for multiple higher-level abilities.

What your child learns through these specialised materials is a greater understanding about the "big picture" and how things come together.

Give your child a foundation of curiosity, confidence and a love of learning for life!

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