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The Montessori curriculum is the educational philosophy developed by Italian educator Maria Montessori, emphasizing the child’s independence and limited freedom while recognizing the psychological developmental stage of the child.
There are several crucial elements to the Montessori curriculum, including:
- Mixed aged classrooms
- Student choice of activities
- Three hour uninterrupted blocks of activity time
- Discovery education
- Freedom of movement within the classroom
and the Primary Grades
Montessori believed that children develop through interaction with their environment and that children, especially those in the early primary grades, have an innate path of discovery. Given a free environment of discovery, Montessori believed that children will naturally choose paths of optimal development.
The Montessori curriculum specifically requires a prepared classroom environment, overseen by a specially trained instructor. The environment is geared towards independent development by the child. Along the various stages of childhood development, Montessori believed that different learning modes needed specific educational approaches.
Independent Learners and Montessori
The Montessori curriculum has specific practices for children from birth to three, three to six, six to twelve and twelve to eighteen years of age. Her original work was focused more on the younger stages, where independent work is directed by the student with minimal guidance from the teacher, who oversees the environment.