Who is Maria Montessori?
Maria Montessori (1870 Italy – 1952 Netherlands) is a committed avant-garde personality.
She became one of the first women doctors in Italy, trained in psychiatry and anthropology and became one of the greatest pedagogues the world has ever known.
Maria Montessori soon developed a passion for the condition of children. She dedicated her life to the study of children from very different social and cultural backgrounds.
By proposing a pedagogy in harmony with the development needs of the child, she opened this new vision :
Education for peace !
Why register your child in a Montessori crèche ?
It is a safe and warm place in which the child can explore and learn individually through his or her own activity, without the spirit of competition.
The environment is conducive to the experiences of the child, who is often living for the first time in a community far from home. Each child can work at his or her own pace! This allows them to work on concentration, freedom of choice of activities and self-confidence.
In a Montessori crèche, the child is encouraged and supported in his or her development, particularly in terms of independence. Everything is thought out for the child!
The mixed age group of 18 to 36 months is intended to encourage the younger children to imitate the older ones, while the older children confirm their newly acquired knowledge by sharing it with them.
This process allows them to discover the joy of helping others while developing self-confidence and independence.
This age diversity encourages mutual help and emulation; the larger the class, the more differences in character are revealed.
Equipment is placed in an orderly fashion and the furniture is adapted to the child’s size and strength. This encourages manipulation and encourages repetition which will train the child’s concentration!
The environment encourages the independence of the children throughout the day (dressing, changing clothes, when changing clothes, taking away their plates, etc.).
The educator observes your child and presents him/her with material that corresponds to his/her development. Your child is then invited to take back the material presented whenever he or she wants and can take it back as many times as he or she wishes to practice it.
The individual work allows you to concentrate and repeat the manipulations as many times as the child wishes.
For Maria Montessori, the hand is “the most important educational tool” for children!
A child’s adaptation is essential for his or her well-being in the classroom. It is organised in a very specific way and is adapted to each child.
- First of all, the child and his/her family are invited to discover the class in the presence of the team members.
- Afterwards, the child enters the class for half an hour with his/her parent present!
- On the following days, the child remains without his/her parent and his/her attendance time gradually increases each day.
We invite children to leave their toys / figurines with their parents before entering the classroom.
If the separation is difficult, we invite the child to leave his/her toy in a box provided for this purpose. They can collect it when they leave during the day.
As for the cuddly toy, it will be placed in the child’s individual drawer and can be taken for a nap for example!
Why choose a Montessori school for your child from the age of 3 ?
First of all, according to Montessori terms, we speak of “Ambiance” to mean a classroom and “the Children’s House” to mean a school. The aim is to provide a safe, beautiful, clean and welcoming environment that allows the child to feel at home with attractive furniture and activities adapted to his or her size and strength. We offer a stimulating place that will suit all children.
Our Ambiance will respond to the child’s “sensitive periods”, in other words, to the universal developmental laws that all children will go through in their life journey. We therefore respect their rhythm, their psychological development and their personality because we want a happy child in harmony with himself so that he has a solid foundation for :
“adapting to tomorrow’s unknown world”.
Always according to Montessori terms, we are not “masters” who hold the knowledge but rather use in our jargon the notion of “guide”; our first work is OBSERVATION which will allow us to understand and analyse who your child is.
Following this we will present the Montessori activities which have been designed to respond to the development of each child according to his/her age, ability and interest of the moment.
The children learn independently after receiving a presentation of Montessori material from us which is supposed to correspond to your child’s development. They learn in a motivating way thanks to the variety and richness of the concrete material which will lead them more and more towards abstraction. Thanks to this path, the child will manipulate concepts in a sensory way that will help them to make mental images, an invaluable help in acquiring the necessary and sufficient knowledge to then be able to use their imagination and creativity.
At the same time, we have an institutional obligation to follow the Romand Education Programme provided by the Directorate General of Compulsory Education of the Canton of Vaud. It must be noted that the skills at all levels that the children will acquire during their three years in the Children’s Home, in addition to all the values and human qualities they will absorb, are for the most part attained, if not most often surpassed.
We do not apply a global programme to the children for a given moment, but each child is a programme, hence the recognition that Montessori pedagogy is an individualised pedagogy! In addition to observation, we use a monitoring book and various tools which allow us to follow the evolution of each child.
In public schools, the programme is divided by theme and by “period” (lesson time) of 45 minutes. There is a mid-morning break afterwards. Then it is resumed in the same way after the break until lunch; the same in the afternoon.
In the Children’s House, the “working period” lasts between 2h30 / 3h00 so that each child can find his or her moment of CONCENTRATION, the keystone of his or her overall development.
We open our doors from 8.00 am until 9.00 am, then the children registered in the morning only leave between 11.45 am and 12.00 pm.
The other little ones prepare “the restaurant” by setting up nice tables, then participate to serve the meal and clear the tables at the end of lunch. The children clean the classroom by tidying, sweeping and washing dishes.
Then we have a quiet moment with most of the children who wish to do so and resume Montessori activities or go on outdoor outings with defined goals.
When they arrive in the morning, your child can choose to,
- or use outdoor activities (psychomotricity courses / taking care of the vegetable garden, animals / using building activities / observing nature / conversing with peers / etc.),
- or work with indoor Montessori activities, look at books from the library, use the art activities, take your time while daydreaming, observe around you and then get into the activities later.
Everything is done in a harmonious way thanks to the learning of autonomy and respect for oneself and others, which they will learn quickly. Moreover, over the 3 years that each child will spend with us, he will integrate the values of responsibility, patience, solidarity, mutual aid, empathy, effort and perseverance in work, self-esteem and self-confidence, working for oneself and not for others or for grades; all this stems from the Montessori method and the benefit of having three mixed ages within the Ambiance.
These values are also shared by the whole team and the different actors who make up the Montessori School L’Idylle!
We have no recreation for 2 reasons :
- Children need their concentration to be respected. If we cut it off at 10.30 am (traditional recreation time) when they are in the middle of work to go to recess, we would be breaking an inner work that would cause dissatisfaction and frustration. A child who finds deep concentration will blossom and transmit his positive attitude around him!
“The result of concentration is awakening in the social sense”: Maria Montessori.
- The children are not seated all day. They have this freedom to move around in the Ambiance as they wish, to sit down to observe, to read a book, to rest on a mat if they are tired, to work on a mat on the floor, to work outside, to do psychomotricity activities both indoors and outdoors. The day is therefore fluid without any impromptu breaks.
We never force a child to do anything against their will! We can “strongly” invite them to do something, but we respect their choice if we see that it is against their nature. For example, we can invite a child to rest on a mattress if we observe that he is tired, or he can take a mattress on his own to rest or even sleep when he wants to.
Your child prepares his snack himself when he is hungry, often with various seasonal fruits and/or small vegetables (apple, banana, apricot, blueberry, cherry, kiwi, carrot, cucumber, cherry tomato, etc…). A small group of 2 or 3 children can prepare bread for the whole community.
Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952) was a contemporary of the 2 great wars. Her whole life was dedicated to the development of her pedagogy, which became more than a simple school method but a philosophy of life. Dr. Montessori was actively involved in designing an Education for Peace. She has been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The attitude of the adult trained in the Montessori philosophy towards the child and the Children’s House prepared to respect each little being will lead the children to self-discipline.
In the event of behaviour that does not correspond to the rules of life or conflicts between peers that may exist during social experiments, the children will be guided to verbalise, recognise their emotions, and if necessary those of their peers, in order to resolve the incident in peace. We very rarely practice direct discipline (if this is the case, it is always with kindness and according to the character of the child) to encourage as much as possible “indirect discipline”.
Our ideal for all of us is the aim of Maria Montessori’s work which is: EDUCATION FOR PEACE!
Links and resources on education according to Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori's work
- Discipline and freedom; Conference text; Paris 1949
- Education and Peace; 1st ed. 1949
- L’Enfant; 1st ed. 1936
- L’Enfant dans la famille; 1st ed. 1936
- L’Esprit absorbant de l’enfant ; 1st ed. 1949
- Faull, Jan; It’s me who decides or how to get out of power relationships with children 2 to 10 years old; 2012
- Juul, Jesper; The Art of Saying No – with a Clear Conscience; 2012
- Palmer, Sue ; Detoxing Childhood : what parents need to know to raise bright, balanced children ; Orion ; 2008
- Standing, M.-E.; Maria Montessori, her life, her work; 1st ed. 1957
Videos and audios
- A Third Year of Montessori – or Kindergarten?
- Du scanner à la salle de classe, Vacarme, RTS, 05/06/2018
- Aid to Life
- Association Montessori de France
- Association Montessori Internationale
- Association Montessori Suisse
- Educateurs sans Frontières
- Institut de Formation Maria Montessori
- Institut Supérieur Maria Montessori
- The Kayaleh Music Center