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What is a Montessori Nursery?

By: Helena Stratford - Updated: 14 Aug 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Montessori Nursery Maria Montessori

Many people have heard of a Montessori school or nursery – but just as many don’t know what is different about them.

Maria Montessori

Montessori nurseries, pre-schools and schools are based on the principals of an Italian doctor, born in 1870, called Maria Montessori. Throughout her years practising medicine she became increasingly interested in education, anthropology and psychology and after extensive study, founded her first ‘Children’s House’ or nursery school in the early 1900’s.

Study by Observation

Maria Montessori noticed that if children were given the opportunity to select to partake in a challenging task appropriate to their developmental stage, they quickly became absorbed and gratified by that task. No longer were rewards for achievement as important for the child as successfully completing the task for themselves. This in turn led to previously unruly children behaving well and at the same time seemed to produce a progression of ‘natural’ learning.

The Montessori Approach

Montessori’s philosophy relied upon having respect for each child as an individual and whilst guiding them towards different goals, still allowing them the freedom within their learning experience to select their own way of achieving it. By keeping direction and help to a minimum, the aim was to enable each child to effectively ‘teach themselves’.

Learning in Context

In addition to this, the Montessori approach sees each child as an entity set within a wider context – that of the world, history, society and so on. This means that children are also introduced to the idea of being independent within a universe which they know, understand, and feel comfortable in.

Misused Identity of Montessori

Unfortunately, the name of Montessori is not copyrighted and is not a protected trademark name. This means in essence, that anyone can attach the Montessori label to their nursery or school. However, bona fide Montessori nurseries have teachers who have been specially trained, they have particular Montessori materials, and the environment adheres to the Montessori concept as a whole.

Confusion about Montessori Techniques

A lot of confusion exists over what Montessori is. A general perception is that these are nurseries where children can ‘just do anything’ or where ‘the national curriculum isn’t followed’. Others may think that the children are being taught ‘to be selfish’ or ‘not to socialise properly’. However although there is a little truth in all these ideas, like any true misconceptions, they are inaccurate.

What Is Montessori?

Montessori is about encouraging and enabling children to think independently via their own exploration and problem-solving abilities. Contrary to what is sometimes believed, although the children often work individually, they have the freedom to work with others if they wish and findings show they will often spontaneously help one another and support the group as a whole.

Age Groups

Montessori nursery’s also place importance on grouping the children in mixed age ranges so that all ages in the nursery are represented (in small nurseries, all the children will be together in one space rather than separated into age groups). The idea is that the younger ones will learn from the older ones and the older ones will help the youngsters.

The Senses

In Montessori schools, the child is seen as a complete sensory being and they aim to challenge each of the five senses throughout their education. There are no ‘formal’ lessons as such - but rather, all subjects on the curriculum are explored by individual and practical experience at the child’s own pace in three hour ‘cycles’. Additionally, in each area of learning, quiet importance is given to structure, order and respecting property.

How do I Find a Montessori Nursery?If you are interested in finding a true Montessori nursery practising Maria Montessori’s techniques, the Montessori Society publishes a list on their website montessori-uk.org. Also worth checking, is whether the teachers are Montessori trained; they should bear the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) accreditation.

More InformationFor more information about Montessori nurseries and schools, visit the websites of the Montessori Society or Montessori Education UK, both of which offer advice and information on the Montessori approach and the training of its teachers.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Dear Admin, I needed to find out how to run a montessori and what the legal requirements are, would it be possible if I could kindly get your suggestions and directive advice. Thank you Rk
RK - 14-Aug-16 @ 2:52 AM
saj - Your Question:
Hi I am looking to set up a montessori nursery but am not sure how to go about it and what the first initial steps are especially in terms of finance. Thank you

Our Response:
I can only suggest you get in touch directly with the Montessori Society directly, and hopefully someone will point you in the right direction. You can do so via the link here . I hope this helps.
RunADayNursery - 7-Aug-15 @ 10:18 AM
Hi I am looking to set up a montessori nursery but am not sure how to go about it and what the first initial steps are especially in terms of finance. Thank you
saj - 6-Aug-15 @ 9:27 PM
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