From birth to six years old, children experience a period of intense mental growth that allows them to "absorb" their environment without any conscious effort, just naturally and spontaneously.
"Flow" is the deepest level of motivated concentration. This is when the best work occurs. When children experience intrinsic concentration they become actively engaged in their own learning process.
Another way to say self-correcting. Maria Montessori designed scientific materials that had a control of error built-in; meaning, children could check their own work without asking or needing an adult to intervene.
False fatigue occurs about one hour into the work cycle. Children get loud, may be silly - they appear distracted or unsettled. Don't fight for control. Let it play out. After this is when real, meaningful work occurs.
Rather than being told what to do and when to do it, Montessori children make their own choices. When children can choose what they want to wear, do, and learn they feel trusted, develop deeper interests and become more creative.
Maria Montessori observed that when movement was included in an activity, children were more engaged and active participants in their learning. Montessori environments encourage and support children and their need to move.
Children are afforded freedoms: independence, freedom of choice, freedom of movement but are limited by the prepared environment, the boundaries set, and the family and/or classroom expectations. Montessori said "follow the child, but follow the child as their leader".
Maria Montessori believed rewards and punishments had no place in education. Instead, children are intrinsically motivated to learn and be contributing members of their community because of their ability to follow their interests, and by choosing to complete tasks at their own pace.
Grace and courtesy lessons are a part of Practical Life. These lessons teach children how to be polite, how to effectively and appropriately communicate their feelings and how to adapt, thrive in, and meet societal norms.
Unlike in conventional parenting, there are no rewards or punishments in Montessori. Montessori discipline means freedom within limits, setting boundaries, modeling expected behaviors, relying on natural consequences, keeping open lines of communication, and meeting a child where they are developmentally.
With natural consequences children learn that their choices have an impact on themselves and/or on others. Rather than a punishment, Montessori preferred linking an action to a consequence. If a child is rough with an object and it breaks, they no longer have it. If it's cold outside, and a child refuses a jacket, they feel cold.
Montessori outlined four developmental stages. The furniture children/Help me to do it myself from birth-6/infancy. The children of the cosmos/Help me to think for myself from 6-12/childhood. The land children/Help me to find myself from 12-18/adolescence. And the children of the wilderness/Help me to support myself from 18-24/maturity.
Most spaces are designed for adults and children fit into them. Montessori spaces are thoughtfully prepared for the children who will spend time in them. A prepared environment fosters concentration, independence and order. It allows for freedom of movement and choice, and facilitates learning and exploration by the child without much intervention by the adult.
In the First Plane, Montessori discourages fantasy play: superheroes, pirates, monsters. This is reserved for Second Plane children who have the ability to separate reality and fantasy. For children under 6, reality-based pretend play is encouraged. This is why children will play house, or school, or restaurant. They pull from events and situations they have seen play out in real life.
Sensitive Periods are windows of time when children more easily grasp concepts. Some of the Sensitive Periods are Language, Movement, Refinement of the Senses, and Order. When a Sensitive Period ends, children may not have as much interest in learning the skill though they can (and will) still learn it over time.
Montessori children spend three years in the same classroom. These mixed-aged classrooms allow children to reach developmental and academic milestones at their own pace with familiar teachers and peers.
There are three parts to every Montessori lesson. The first part is the naming stage, "this is a square." The second part is the identifying stage, "show me the square." The third part is the cognition stage, "what is this?"
A Montessori work cycle is an uninterrupted block of time; typically three hours, daily. During this time children receive lessons, choose work, eat snack, and work at their own pace on activities that interest them.