For those unfamiliar with Montessori, walking into one of our classrooms can seem a little overwhelming at first. Unlike traditional schools, a typical scene in our classes includes a huge array of activity. You are likely to observe a scattering of kids; some working at tables around the room, others spread out with mats on the floor, a teacher in a lesson with a handful of students, and if it is after 10am then you can add a couple of students at the snack table. All of these students might be working on entirely different things, and to those of us brought up in rows of desks staring at the teacher, this scene can even feel a little chaotic!
There are many built in mechanisms that allow this seemingly disorganized system to far outperform its traditional counterpart. Top among them is our use of movement and tactile materials in the class. Dr. Montessori recognized that children need to move and touch in order to really internalize their learning. (Anyone who has ever had a toddler can substantiate this!). She developed brilliant materials in all subject areas that allow students to really experience the concepts they are learning about.
Children naturally love exploring with their hands, and often our students are enjoying using the Montessori Materials so much that they don’t even realize that they are learning an academic concept. The materials are designed to be self-correcting, so that students are able to check themselves if they are completing their work correctly. All of this makes it possible for members of the class to be working on different things at the same time.
Check out the article below to see what recent science is saying about movement and materials in the class. Over the past five decades our teachers can attest to the same findings!