What role do the Montessori educators play in the classroom? How is it unique to the Montessori method of education?
When you enter a Montessori classroom, or Prepared Environment, you may notice that it is very different to a standard childcare classroom. The Montessori classroom is a thoughtfully prepared learning space where everything has a purpose and a place. It is filled with scientifically designed Montessori educational materials, and the role of Montessori educators within this environment is to observe, monitor, and guide each child’s learning progress and help them becoming confident, independent, and courageous life-long learners.
Montessori Educators Are Guides
Doctor Maria Montessori did not view children as empty vessels that needed to be filled with information from an adult. Rather, she developed a methodology of education where the primary role of the educator was to maintain the prepared environment, and to carefully observe the children working in that environment. To quote Maria Montessori:
“The greatest sign of success for a teacher…is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’”
Today, we refer to the educator in a Montessori classroom as a guide to describe their role as they gently support the children in their own learning process. They help or intervene as little as possible, yet are available when needed.
Educators serve as a link between the prepared environment and the children. During the Montessori work cycle, they work with children individually, to guide them through activities and learning experiences unique to them.
Montessori Educators Nurture Independence
“Help me to do it by myself”
Maria Montessori believed that learning is more effective when children learn by themselves rather than when being taught. However, this isn’t to say that Montessori educators leave children to understand how to use the material by themselves. Rather, the presentation of Montessori materials are an important part of the educators’ role.
The educators will first introduce the material to the children by naming the activity, then naming the different parts if necessary. They then slowly and precisely present the material as they carefully demonstrate all the steps of the activity. They will then give space for the children to independently explore the activity, which results in independent learning for the child.
Educators will let children concentrate on their work without interfering, allowing them to develop their own reasoning and problem-solving skills.
Montessori Educators Are Observers
Montessori Educators will carefully but inconspicuously observe each child’s development, identifying their individual needs and interests. They see children without judgment or preconceived ideas of what they are capable of. In fact, they allow children to be curious and to learn at their own pace. This careful observation allows educators to recognise each child’s ‘Sensitive Periods’, or period of time when their interests are focused on developing a particular skill or knowledge area. Educators can then introduce materials and activities that link to the child’s current interests and stages of development, while also ensuring that they are introduced to all the curriculum areas by utilising the child’s current interests.
In a Montessori classroom, children are free to choose their own work and educators will help facilitate their learning by fostering a positive learning environment where children feel supported, respected, independent, and confident.
Montessori Academy offers excellent Montessori training and childcare career advancement opportunities, as well as many staff incentives. Learn more about a job in Montessori early education by enquiring online here.