child cleaning leaves

MONTESSORI MATERIALS & LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
for the home and the school

Home Page
Montessori Schools
Montessori Teachers
Montessori Today

QUICK SEARCH:

Birth to Three

Conferences

Dr. Montessori

Finding a School

Montessori Method
age 0-3+

Montessori Method
age 3-12+

Montessori Materials

Montessori Organizations

Montessori Teacher Training

Related Resources

School Information

THE ENVIRONMENT

The Montessori learning environment is much different than the traditional model. Instead of information passing from the teacher to the student, the teacher is skilled in putting the child in touch with the environment, and helping him learn to make intelligent choices and to carry out research in a prepared environment. The teacher then protects the student's concentration from interruption. This fosters a love of lifetime learning in the student. Keep in mind a triangle: the student, the parent or teacher, and the environment. It is the role of the adult to prepare, and continue to prepare, the environment, to link the child to it through well-thought-out introductions to books and materials, projects, and lessons, which nurture the child's exploration and creativity. Children thus taught often surpass both the level of education of their peers, and the knowledge of the adult in all areas -- then they learn to find answers for themselves. The Montessori school environment is arranged according to subject area -- cooking, cleaning, gardening, art, caring for animals, library corner, etc. -- children always free to move around the room instead of staying at desks. There is no limit to how long a child can work on something she has chosen. At any one time in a day all subjects -- practical work, math, language, science, history, geography, art, music, etc. -- will be being studied, at all levels, by children of mixed ages learning from each other, facilitated by careful observation, individual lessons, record keeping, and help of the teacher.


MONTESSORI INFORMATION, TOYS, AND EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS

Just as anyone can use the word "Montessori" to describe schools and training centers, they can and DO use the name to describe toys and materials that often have nothing to do with Montessori. Quite often suppliers start out with a small selection of good things and then add more and more, veering away from the kind of quality that one would find in a Montessori school. For example, a Montessori teacher avoids plastic, choosing instead natural materials. Also there are no "kits" or "sets" but rather a good supply of beautiful and real materials that the child uses to carry out real work. And although in the first school in Rome there were dolls and imaginative toys, it was discovered early on that, given the choice, children always prefer to learn about and to study and interact with the real world in all its glory. As far as the "didactic" or teaching materials in Montessori schools, there is an international committee that has overseen the production of such things as the sensorial materials for many years. An impulsive or artistic change in the production, that can result in a breakdown of the success of the method, is then avoided.

Michael Olaf Montessori
65 Ericson Court, Arcata, California 95521, USA
Montessori Toys and Materials for children from age 0-7, and for parents and teachers: Montessori Shop
Wholesale:
discount prices for Michael Olaf books and DVD's, for teacher training centers, parent groups, and schools.

Certification
: Susan Mayclin Stephenson, the co-owner of Michael Olaf, has AMI Montessori diplomas at 0-3, 3-6, 6-12, M.ED, www.susanart.net
Founding of the company: Michael Olaf was founded in 1983
Websites: www.michaelolaf.net, and www.michaelolaf.com
Email: michaelola@aol.com, phone: 707-826-1557; FAX: 707-826-2243
Areas Served: most countries
(1/15)

Maitri Learning
131 Tob Hill Road, Westhampton, MA 01027
Materials: Ecological producers of the print-based Montessori materials (3-part cards, matching cards, phonetic reading cards, definition books, etc etc.) used in Montessori schools and teacher training centers (AMI, AMS, etc.) around the world. All photos isolate their subject and are of the highest pedagogical design.
Certification: The owner has 3-6 AMI certification, is nearly finished with her Master's degree in Psychology at Harvard University (Extension School), and has 20+ years experience as a mother, Montessori teacher, Mentor teacher, and Medical educator. (www.maitrilearning.com/aboutus).
Founding of the company: Maitri Learning was founded in 2003
Website: www.maitrilearning.com
Contact: admin@maitrilearning.com; Phone: 413-529-2868
Areas Served
: most countries
(1/15)


EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENTS AND MATERIALS - BIRTH TO AGE 12+

A sparse environment of carefully chosen materials calls the child to work, concentration, and joy. A crowded or chaotic environment can cause stress and can dissipate a child's energy. As Montessori education becomes more popular more materials are produced which are labeled "Montessori" and one must be more and more careful in selection. Too many materials, or inappropriate materials can be worse than too few.

Birth to Age Six: Before the age of six, a child learns from direct contact with the environment, by means of all the senses, and through movement; the child literally absorbs what is in the environment. The toys and materials in the home and school for this period of development should be of the very best quality to call forth self-respect, respect and care from the child toward the environment, and the development of an appreciation of beauty.

Age Six to Twelve: From age six to twelve, "the age of the Imagination," the children produce so much -- charts, models, books, timelines, maps, books, plays, etc. -- that the environment must be continually pared down to the essentials so that the children continue to create. Sensorial-manipulative materials, such as multiplication bead frames, can also be used for older children, but should be left behind as soon as the child is ready to work in the abstract. The materials for this age are made during Montessori teacher training and are usually of no value to untrained teachers. However the philosophy of respecting the child's choice and following the direction of his interests is of value anywhere.

Age Twelve +: From age twelve to eighteen, the child's education becomes more traditional: books, computers, and the tools of the place where he may be apprenticing or doing social work. This is transition to adult life during which time the child learns to function in the real world.  The environment now includes the farm, the public library, the work place, the large community.

At all ages, since the adult's special interests usually lie in one or two areas of study, we must be sure to introduce him to materials and lessons in all areas, all kinds of experiences, and not limit him to our own interests. In the words of the famous music educator Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, "What does not exist in the cultural environment will not develop in the child."


MONTESSORI AT HOME & HOMESCHOOLING ENVIRONMENTS

Many families are using Montessori principles at homes to provide to provide supportive environments for infants, to supplement the Montessori or other schooling of their children, to make their school studies more vibrant, to teach independence, or sometimes even to completely homeschool their children. Often these parents mistakenly think that they need expensive materials which have been produced for many years for Montessori schools. These materials are made to withstand the constant use of many children over many years and their cost reflects this durability. It is quite possible to provide a Montessori environment without these materials.

Montessori Homeschooling - Web Site: http://www.montessori.edu/homeschooling.html


THE ROLE OF TELEVISION

Of course these are valuable tools for education, but we must keep them in balance with other experiences. In support of this balance, here is a quote from the July 1997 issue of The Atlantic Monthly: "Sesame Street" . . . has been around for twenty years. Indeed, its idea of making learning relevant to all was as widely promoted in the seventies as the Internet is today. So where's that demographic wave of creative and brilliant students now entering college? Did kids really need to learn how to watch television? Did we inflate their expectations that learning would always be colorful and fun? . . . . and finally I see a parallel between the goals of "Sesame Street" and those of children's computing. Both are pervasive, expensive and encourage children to sit still. Both display animated cartoons, gaudy numbers and weird, random noises . . . both give the sensation that by merely watching a screen, you can acquire information without work and without discipline.

Television . . .Is an anti-experience and an anti-knowledge machine because it separates individuals from themselves and from the environment and makes them believe they are living while they are only observing passively what other people decide to make them see. - Dr. Silvana Montanaro, MD, Psychiatrist, Montessori Teacher-Trainer

The primary danger of the television screen lies not so much in the behavior it produces as the behavior it prevents... Turning on the television set can turn off the process that transforms children into adults. - Urie Bronfenbrenner, Professor of Human Development, Cornell University


APPLY TO BECOME A "MONTESSORI MATERIALS" MEMBER OF WWW.MONTESSORI.EDU: Educational materials suppliers of interest to Montessori teachers or parents who are interested in using Montessori philosophy at home are welcome to apply for www.montessori.edu membership. Acceptable companies should be overseen or approved by a certified Montessori teacher or trainer or have a good reason for applying for membership.
For an application for membership click here: APPLICATION.

return to top

Copyright 2014
You may use anything from this site for educational purposes, including academic papers, citing "with permission of The International Montessori Index, www.montessori.edu"
Please E-mail montsriedu@aol.com  for reprint permission for other uses.



home - environment / materials - schools - teachers / training - Montessori today