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Incorporating Montessori Principles in a Traditional Classroom
posted by: Melissa | February 26, 2015, 03:07 PM   


Maria Montessori is one of the most recognized names in education.  She was the first female physician in Italy and dedicated her life to children.  Quickly moving beyond a child’s physical care,  Montessori developed an interest in education and developed a series of practices that were both rooted in science and revolutionized the way that educators thought about student learning.


Today, there are thousands of Montessori classrooms across the world and her methods have met with great success.  While many schools still follow traditional models, incorporating Montessori methods doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing concept.  Even in traditional classrooms and schools, you can use some of the practices that Maria Montessori developed.


Wherever possible, allow greater student autonomy. To me, this seems to be the hinge that all of Montessori education swings on.  Students in Montessori schools are allowed to choose their own lessons (although not allowed to avoid a subject or lessons altogether).They are also allowed to choose their preferred working environment, such as where they sit or how they conduct their work. Allowing total student autonomy is not always possible in a traditional classroom, but many teachers may be able incorporate this technique into their daily routine.


Develop interdisciplinary units wherever possible. Maria Montessori did not see each subject as an island unto itself. Science, writing, and math quite often become intermingled in the real world, and for an authentic learning experience this should become duplicated. Many educators already know the power of using interdisciplinary units and increasing their use is one way to bring Montessori-like methods into the classroom.


When possible, replace worksheets with materials and activities. If there is one thing Maria Montessori was known for it was the ingenious physical materials that she created.  These materials provided practice and reinforcement in key areas. Many teachers rely on practice worksheets to provide this reinforcement, but introducing Montessori materials into the classroom may prove to be a much more engaging way for students to hone and practice their skills.


There are many areas of Montessori education that teachers in a traditional school may not be able to implement. Multi-age classrooms and flexible scheduling are just not compatible with modern school organization. Furthermore, many Montessori-advocates will argue that it’s impossible to get true Montessori education without buying in whole-hog. However, for educators where that is not an option some benefits may be seen from implementing the few elements that they are able to.


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