One emphasis in Montessori education is on the development of the whole child. While traditional schools tend to focus on developing a child’s cognitive abilities, the Montessori method aims to develop every aspect of a child. There are four main elements that make up what Montessori refers to as the whole child: physical, emotional, social, and cognitive.
As children grow and mature, their bodies go through many changes. Staying physically active benefits children at every stage of development. In a Montessori classroom, there is a great deal of movement offered through a variety of activities. Children who are physically active throughout their day develop stronger muscles and bones and tend to have an easier time falling asleep at night. When a child plays outside, they are exposed to all of the beautiful things nature has to offer. Since young children learn using their senses, an outdoor environment filled with plants, animals, and objects can serve as a classroom as well. At Silverline Montessori, all of our students participate in weekly physical education classes and have the option of taking yoga classes as well.
Learning how to recognize and manage emotions is a very important life skill. Many conflicts in life are a direct result of a person feeling hurt by another’s actions. Children can learn from an early age that their actions can affect other people. Respect for others is strongly emphasized in every Montessori classroom. When students get into a disagreement, they learn how to talk about their feelings in order to resolve the issue peacefully. Children also learn how to recognize what emotions others are feeling. They are taught to look at body language and facial expressions in order to determine how someone else is feeling. Developing this emotional intelligence helps children form stronger bonds with others.
The Montessori method recognizes the importance of social interactions in developing the whole child. Multi-age classrooms are one of the main features of a Montessori education. In these classrooms, children are grouped based on the plane of development that they are in, rather than their exact age group. This allows children to interact with students of different ages, helping young children feel more comfortable with older children. Older children strengthen their leadership skills by serving as mentors to younger students and assisting them with their work. Students learn important social skills such as communication, collaboration, and kindness towards others.
To a Montessori student, the world is their classroom. The Montessori method aims to develop creative thinkers, able to solve problems and constantly learn and challenge themselves. Montessori students learn to view themselves as global citizens and recognize the beauty of different cultures and traditions. They understand that they are part of a greater universe and that they have a moral responsibility to protect our planet in the future. They have a profound respect for the natural environment and understand the importance of practicing good virtues. Art and music classes give students an outlet to express themselves, and computer classes help prepare them for our technologically advanced society. Through a combination of all of these subjects, Montessori students develop cognitive skills in several different areas.