Five basic principles fairly and accurately represent how Montessori educators implement the Montessori method in many kinds of programs across the United States. These principles include: 1. respect for the child, 2. the absorbent mind, 3. sensitive periods, 4. the prepared environment, and 5. autoeducation.
Respect for the Child
Respect for the child is the cornerstone on which all other Montessori principles rest. As Montessori said,
As a rule, however, we do not respect children. We try to force them to follow us without regard to their special needs. We are overbearing with them, and above all, rude; and then we expect them to be submissive and well-behaved, knowing all the time how strong is their instinct of imitation and how touching their faith in and admiration of us. They will imitate us in any case. Let us treat them, therefore, with all the kindness which we would wish to help to develop in them (Montessori, 1965).
Teachers show respect for children when they help them do things and learn for themselves. When children have choices, they
1. Create a Shredded Flower Bouquet. Who knew shredded paper could be so beautiful? This creative activity involves ripping and shredding paper to create a colorful composition that makes for a great gift or decoration. Kids with special needs will especially love the sensory experience of handling paper and manipulating colors and shapes! Go
2. Underwater I Spy Alphabet Bottle. Sparkly, glittery water is sure to attract curious eyes! This alphabet bottle is fun to make and a great activity to keep your child engaged and focused. The craft helps kids recognize letters in a creative way while enjoying the beautiful shine and sparkle of floating sequins! Go
3. Paint with Ice. Kids love to swirl the melting paint over paper, creating beautiful designs. They’ll practice their color recognition and observation skills while observing paint go from a liquid state to a solid state, then back to liquid again! Go
4. Explore the Senses with a Sensory Table. A sensory table is a place designed for squishing, sifting, sorting, digging and pouring! Children will relish the opportunity to get messy, discover, and play freely with engaging their sense of touch, hearing
Researchers have evidence for the positive effects of parent involvement on children, families, and school when schools and parents continuously support and encourage the children’s learning and development (Eccles & Harold, 1993; Illinois State Board of Education, 1993). According to Henderson and Berla (1994), “the most accurate predictor of a student’s achievement in school is not income or social status but the extent to which that student’s family is able to:
Create a home environment that encourages learning
Express high (but not unrealistic) expectations for their children’s achievement and future careers
Become involved in their children’s education at school and in the community (p. 160)
Henderson and Berla (1994) reviewed and analyzed eighty-five studies that documented the comprehensive benefits of parent involvement in children’s education. This and other studies show that parent involvement activities that are effectively planned and well implemented result in substantial benefits to children, parents, educators, and the school.
Benefits for the Children
Children tend to achieve more, regardless of ethnic or racial background, socioeconomic status, or parents’ education level.
Children generally achieve better grades, test scores, and attendance.
Romantic Feelings of Teens: A Natural Process
Teens face strong pressures to date, as well as get involved in a romantic relationship1. A romantic relationship is one that invloves feelings of attraction–physical and friendship. In fact, over half of teens in the United States report dating regularly (casual dates with one or more partners at different times) whereas a third claim to have a steady dating (exclusive) partner2. Young teens usually hang out with peers who are the same gender as they are. As they reach the mid-teen years (age 14-15 years), they start having relationships with peers of the opposite sex3. Such relationships are likely to be friendships and/or physical attractions. Although most romantic relationships among 12- to 14-year-olds last less than 5 months, by age 16 relationships last an average of 2 years4. In the early teen years dating is more superficial–for fun and recreation, status among peers, and exploring attractiveness/sexuality. In the older teen years youth are looking for intimacy, companionship, affection, and social support.
Desiring a romantic partner is a natural, expected part of adolescence. However, involvement in a serious or exclusive romantic relationship in the preteen/early teen years can create problems. True romantic relationships are about intimacy,
In the family, children become socialized through interactions with parents, siblings, relatives, and neighbors; once in a school setting, they need new ways of acting, relating, and socializing. Children who have had a strong attachment to a nurturing figure and see themselves as separate from this nurturing figure are ready for a group situation. Children who have not fully developed strong attachments to another person may have a more difficult time adjusting to the complexity of the social system of the school.
Children who experience the security of loving parents and have strong attachments to their parents are better able to reach out to relate with others. According to attachment theory, children who enjoy a secure attachment relationship with their parents and caregivers use this relationship as a support to venture out and explore their environment (Maccoby, 1993). They reach out to others, return to the caregiver for support, and venture out again, going further into the world of social relationships (Ainsworth et al., 1978). As the child confidently wanders out to test the social waters, he enlarges his social world, expands his social contacts, and is more likely to learn from experience in social interaction.
Parents who are social
Technology and Teaching
“Incorporating technology into the classroom requires a double innovation,” says Shelley Pasnik, director of the Center for Education and Technology, Educators who receive new technology must first learn how to use the equipment and then decide whether or not it supports the class objectives and curriculum.
For example, an instructor may restructure a lecture into a group activity, having students conduct online research to boost their understanding. With such a vast reference tool, the students might pose questions that no one in the class, not even the teacher himself, can answer. Many teachers and schools choose to avoid this situation by discouraging the use of computers in a well-organized lesson. Their latest shipment of Smartboards, ELMOs, or iPads stays locked in a closet as they struggle to find the time to effectively incorporate them into the curriculum plan.
Despite the challenges, incorporating technology into education still has proven benefits, especially when it comes to personalized learning. From math games that adjust the level of difficulty as players progress to electronic books that talk and respond to the tap of a finger, products that personalize the learning experience for students often benefit their understanding. An interactive game is more engaging than