The teachers and parents of Montessori students see many benefits from the practices of authentic Montessori teaching. This philosophy of education for the primary, middle, and upper Montessori programs offers a different kind of classroom and a different way of guiding social, emotional, and academic development. From a love of learning, to practical life skill mastery, to the growing independence and confidence in multiple contexts, students demonstrate the positive outcomes of one of Montessori’s key practices: freedom of choice. These desirable characteristics and skills that Montessori Pre-school education fosters can be seen in the role of the teacher in the classroom, the classroom environment itself, and the ways parents bring the practice of freedom of choice into their homes.
Role of teacher
In the Montessori classroom, teachers are observers, guides, and facilitators. In all these roles, the teacher creates space for freedom of choice. It is up to the student to determine what piques their curiosity, the best method to satisfy it, and the way they want to share or demonstrate mastery of the subject. Teachers utilize broad, relevant, and interconnected curriculum topics and substantial blocks of time during the classroom day to allow students to independently choose and pursue their learning goals.
Role of the prepared environment
In order to foster freedom of choice, while not overwhelming a student with a disorganized space or hobbling their curiosity with a chaotic classroom, Montessori teachers take great care to create an environment prepared for learning. The Montessori classroom is designed with all classroom amenities within reach and the learning tools and activities they need on accessible shelves. There are ample surfaces and space for students to do their independent work, to form small groups, or to access the teachers who are, themselves, ready classroom resources. The prepared environment evolves as students learn and acquire skills, and creates the dynamism necessary to truly host a student’s freedom of choice in their learning process.
Bringing it home
Some Montessori parents will extend these practices to their home and the way their family functions as a whole. While many families may not be able to achieve a prepared environment in the same way a Montessori elementary school classroom can, some will encourage the practice of practical life skills with child-sized household tools, like brooms or food preparation utensils, or provide access aids like stools and low-level storage. Families may also incorporate more choice into family time, authentically asking what activity their child wants to engage and how they want to help in the execution of it. There are many ways to bring Montessori practices home, and in this regard, Montessori teachers can be an excellent resource for parents too.