‘Montessori’ parenting, play, and education have been popping up everywhere lately! It is even regularly featured on popular social media applications such as TikTok, where parents showcase how Montessori has improved their lives.
So, what is this all about!? Is it just a ‘buzzword,’ or is it a legitimate practice? What really is it? Read on as we myth bust Montessori.
What is Montessori?
Let's start with a mini-history class! Despite gaining traction in mainstream society recently, “The Montessori Method” was created by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 1900s!
Dr. Montessori designed the method as child-centered learning that is 100% child-led.
Through a range of activities (called “work”), children can explore what they choose to learn as it supports both independent and group play. It supports a range of cognitive development including respect and deep engagement.
Kids will focus on the following through this method:
There is a wide range of activity stations that children can choose from throughout their day.
Teachers or parents interact and enrich the child’s play rather than dictate what should or needs to happen.
The focus is on social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development.
With a sense of liberating freedom that encourages creative thinking and critical thought, children are allowed to explore deep connections.
The result? Research highlights that children and students who embrace Montessori grow up to have increased confidence, happiness, self-motivation, and accountability for themselves and their wider community. They can work collaboratively with others and speak up for their truth with integrity.
Let's unravel some common misconceptions and myths about Montessori.
Myth: Montessori can only be used for young, preschool-aged children.
Truth: Montessori activities do heavily focus on children around preschool age, however, Montessori can be used from birth to eighteen years old!
Myth: Montessori is reserved for children who are specially gifted or living with learning disabilities.
Truth: While Montessori is highly effective for children living with learning disabilities and gifted learners, it is designed for all children and all children can get success out of it.
Myth: Children just do whatever they want.
Truth: Montessori gives children the power of free choice for purposeful activity. In turn, children control their environment and what toys/materials they use. Adults are ever-present to supervise and can intervene, guide, and gently intercept the child towards more appropriate materials, or if the child is being destructive or is inappropriately using materials.
Myth: Montessori stifles creativity.
Truth: In her research, Dr. Montessori discovered that children thrive and prefer doing activities that provide them with practical experiences. The “freedom with guidance” approach encourages creative problem-solving and creative story and role-playing, all led by the child. Moreover, art and music are essential to Montessori.
Is It Really All This Good!?
We've focussed so far on all the good things! But, nothing is without its criticism and Montessori has some. Here are some popular criticisms of it:
It can be pricey: Whether you send your child to a Montessori school or use the principles at home, it can be pricey to acquire the toys and information that are specific to Montessori.
Is independence the best approach? Montessori focuses a lot on developing a child’s sense of freedom and independence. This is important but it can lead to some children finding it difficult to work well with others.
At The Playful Peacock, we support parents' choice in doing what they feel is best for their child. Ultimately, as the parent, you can decide whether to invoke the principles of Montessori or not.
A true Montessori toy will stimulate learning through experimentation. Here are our top Montessori Toys:
Do you use Montessori? Why, or why not? We’d love to know!