A pedagogical framework for each child to develop at their own pace
Montessori is above all an individualized and active pedagogy.
– Individualized because each child progresses at his/her own pace, respecting his/her personality and needs, and benefits from personalized follow-up. They are encouraged to choose the materials they want to work on. Trust in the child is the key to learning (there are no failures, only fun challenges to take up), knowing that self-confidence is the engine of success and that to progress, the child must first and foremost believe in his or her abilities and potential.
– Active because learning is done through experimentation, trial and error and the use of all the senses. For example, for writing, the child palpates the rough letter, listens to the sound (phoneme) and observes the color (different according to whether it is a consonant or a vowel). The material is self-correcting: the child realizes his or her own mistakes (no teachers to tell him or her if it is right or wrong): he or she gains autonomy and self-esteem.
The pedagogy is based on 2 essential observations made by Maria Montessori: the “absorbing mind” and the “sensitive periods” of the child under 6 years of age. Like a sponge, the child absorbs the world around him/her. He or she passes through a succession of periods during which he/she shows sensitivity and interest in certain aspects of his or her environment (period sensitive to language, order, refinement of the senses, coordination of movements…). Leaving him/her free to choose the material on which he or she will work, acquisitions are made with enthusiasm and ease, without effort or fatigue. As each child is unique, the activities he/she chooses correspond to his/her needs.
Maria Montessori’s visionary intuitions are confirmed today by recent discoveries in cognitive sciences (cf. works by Stanislas Dehaene, cognitive psychologist and neuroscientist).
Finally, children evolve into unique classes, like micro-societies where everyone has a place, where emulation, respect for difference and tolerance are the order of the day: adults consolidate their learning by explaining to the youngest, who, seeing a comrade who is barely older succeeding, wants to act like him.
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