“Play is the work of a child” – Maria Montessori
Parents often ask: What is the difference between a Montessori Preschool and play-based teaching methods in early childhood education. The problem with this question is the assumption that the Montessori Method is an “academics” based learning system. In truth, the Montessori Method is a play-based teaching method.
Montessori teachers understand that although children learn in many ways, young children tend to be highly active learners. They need to be left to work through the many uses of the objects they encounter to learn effectively.
Benefits of the Montessori Curriculum
Although it may not look like it, every activity teaches a child something new. Parents need not be concerned as to why their preschoolers are playing instead of learning their A, B, and C’s. A play focused curriculum allows a toddler to participate in all activities and learn at own pace. These lessons on how to interact with the world around them are critical to the development of life skills including patience, generosity, leadership, & friendship while providing a solid foundation for more advanced learning.
Children Learn Best Through Play
You may be wondering – how is it possible that my child is learning when all I see them do in the classroom is knock over a block tower or play with toys? For a preschooler, play teaches cause and effect, fine motor skills, critical thinking, and more. Furthermore, young children learn through interacting and playing with other children, whether in a group or individually. In fact, because play is so crucial to early learning, most preschool programs incorporate plenty of opportunities to play with different objects and activities throughout the day.
Montessori Teachers Guide Their Classes
The Montessori Method naturally helps preschoolers practice key skills that will not only increase their knowledge base but also build their self-confidence. Montessori teaching methods prepare preschoolers for their eventual entry into the more formal instruction when they enter kindergarten and beyond.
Flexible by Design
The children in a Montessori classroom do not have the run of the classroom. Our great preschool teachers are directing, observing, assisting, supporting and monitoring each individual preschooler as they play and learn. Additionally, the best teachers will observe their class at play in order to be certain that the “play-learning” curriculum is working with their students. If it is working – great! If it isn’t working well, an astute Montessori teacher can make adjustments to the curriculum to fit the student. This flexibility helps young learners develop a love for learning and exploration because they can discover new things at their own pace with the loving guidance of a caring teacher.