The Forum of Ideas Virtual Fair
As Natural Teachers it is important to become familiar with the most notable child development theorists and philosophies. This practice is designed to strengthen your professional identity as a Natural Teacher.
The Assignment: You are eligible to win a million dollar grant to create your own school or childcare center. Explore the child development theorists and educational philosophies from the Forum of Ideas Virtual Fair. ( Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, and Montessori) Reflect and discover how important developmental theorists are in creating your own philosophy of education as a Natural Teacher.
Maria Montessori & The Montessori Method
WHO: Dr. Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and innovative educator best known for her philosophy of education called the Montessori Method. Montessori observed and studied the way children naturally learn.
WHAT: The birth of The Montessori Method evolved from scientifically exploring the best teaching methods for children’s learning. Dr. Montessori discovered the importance of the environment on learning. Therefore, based her method on self directed hands on learning and collaborative play. The Montessori Method uses puzzles and manipulative Montessori Learning Materials for every stage of development.
HOW: The Montessori Method is based on supporting children’s natural development in a prepared environment. These 5 Principles demonstrate how teachers are implementing the Montessori Method in a variety of educational settings including Outdoor Classrooms.
1. Respect the Child: Provide children with learning opportunities and allow them to make their own choices.
2. The Absorbant Mind: “It may be said that we acquire knowledge by using our minds; but the child absorbs knowledge directly into his psychic life. Simply by continuing to live, the child learns to speak his native tongue.” (Montessori, 1966)
3. Sensitive Periods: Montessori believed there are times when children are more “primed” for learning specific skills. These moments are called “Sensitive Periods.”
4. The Prepared Environment: Montessori believed that children do best in a prepared environment. “The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the growing child independent of the adult.” Maria Montessori
5. Auto Education: Montessori believed that children teach themselves when they are in a prepared environment and called this “Auto Education”.
WHERE: Dr. Montessori’s educational method is still very popular today and can be found in many public and private schools throughout the world. Montessori teachers are required to attend specific training and certificate programs.
WHEN: Montessori teachers believe older children are valuable mentors for younger children; therefore, the prepared environmetns are designed using mixed age classrooms.
Maria Montessori’s Views on Children and Nature
“There must be provision for the child to have contact with nature; to understand and appreciate the order, the harmony and the beauty in nature.” Maria Montessori
“It is also necessary for his psychical development to place the soul of the child in contact with creation, in order that he may lay up for himself treasure from the directly educating forces of living nature.” Maria Montessori
REFLECTIONS: Begin now and explore how to infuse Montessori Methods into your Outdoor Classroom. Leave a comment below and share your insights.