The Montessori Method was devised by the Italian doctor María Montessori more than 100 years ago and its fundamental principle is to give children the necessary freedom to learn and develop on their own, although always with limits that should not be exceeded.
When carrying out the first tests of her theory, Maria Montessori opted for children in Rome submerged in poverty and for those who were in hospitals. Seeing that his method was successful, he decided to expand the field of application and in 1924 made the method public through his book “The Montessori Method.”
Montessori claimed that children have a practically unlimited capacity to absorb knowledge unconsciously in the first moments of life and consciously as they pass stages and turn years.
For the Montessori Method to be successful, the Italian doctor assures, in her book, that the environment must be appropriate . Order, security, design and access to tools are essential when it comes to getting the little ones out of the house to the full potential. Everything has to be prepared for the child to become independent from the first months of life. This space prepared with the different materials to carry out the Montessori Method is known as the “Montessori Room”.
The success or failure of the Montessori Method depends on the work of the parents , according to María Montessori, since if they follow the guidelines set out in her theory, they will only have to observe to adapt the space to the needs of their children while they see their development. .
María Montessori divided her method into four stages: infancy , which goes from 0 to 6 years old; childhood, from 6 to 12; adolescence, from 12 to 18, and maturity, from 18 to 24. Each of them has its peculiarities.
Childhood is characterized by the absorption of sensory impressions that surround it unconsciously, up to three years, and consciously between three and six years. In addition, this period is marked by numerous physical and psychological changes.
The second stage is that of childhood, in which young people seek intellectual independence since what they develop is abstract thinking. His progress goes beyond what exists at that moment in his environment and a multitude of physical and psychological changes also appear .
The stage that goes from 12 to 18 years, adolescence, is somewhat more complex since the child seeks another type of independence more in line with his age . The social, the economic and the emotional appear in the mind of the young man, who is having a more mature vision.
Finally, María Montessori described the last stage, the one that goes up to 24 years of age, as maturity. Following the line of the previous phase, what interests the young man is to find what he would like to do with his life, a moral and intellectual independence.
DOES APPLYING THE MONTESSORI METHOD HAVE NEGATIVE EFFECTS?
Like all theories it has advantages and disadvantages. More and more teachers and parents are opting for the guidelines set by María Montessori, although it is advisable to inquire about the positive and negative points of this practice.
As for the advantages, the activities of the Italian doctor’s method are adapted to the development and personal growth of the child and not the other way around , as is usually the case in most educational practices. Increase your creativity and independence.
The learning rhythm is set by the child himself so, if he does it well, he will never go ahead or behind anyone since each one carries them out in the way he sees fit. These activities do not carry rules so the child is the one who must self-correct and learn only from their mistakes.
It is a method that favors the almost unlimited development of their cognitive abilities since they manage their own learning and keep everything they can assimilate. In addition, they strengthen aspects such as creativity, imagination, concentration or attention, among others.
On the other hand, there are the disadvantages that are led by the consequences derived from incorrect application of the rules described by María Montessori. If children are given too much freedom without setting limits, rebellious behaviors can appear.
Another negative point is that the child’s self-management of learning can lead to him overlooking certain necessary knowledge that he is not interested in at the moment and that he puts aside. By giving you the freedom to learn there is a risk that this will happen.
The lack of competition with other children of the same age can cause you to not feel motivated to improve and continue to grow. In the medium and long term, it can prevent you from exceeding the different levels and not making progress in the method.
The Montessori Method presents some contradictions that can lead to error on the part of parents or professionals . The doctor says that parents should be mere observers and that the child should have total freedom, but she also explains that it is the parents or professionals who lead and guide the child in their activities. A misinterpretation can lead to mistakes and misapplication of the method.