Dr Maria Montessori devoted her lifetime to observing children’s interaction with their environment. She discovered that children go through the same stages of development at approximately the same ages. Dr Montessori used her research to design an effective method to help children develop mentally, socially and emotionally.
Birth to six years old: ‘Absorbent Mind’
From birth to six years old, the child’s mind is like a sponge, absorbing information at speed. It is a critical stage because the child’s personality starts to develop at this stage.
According to Dr Montessori, ‘impressions do not merely enter a child’s mind but form it’. The right environment can help develop a wholesome child.
The ‘Absorbent Mind’ is divided into two stages: the unconscious and the conscious. The unconscious stage occurs from birth to age three. The child is not conscious of his/her actions and merely responds to stimuli and sensory perceptions.
The child becomes conscious of his/her learning from three to six. At this stage, the child’s mind is still absorbing information but he/she can decide what to learn.
The learning environment in a Montessori preschool and kindergarten is designed to promote sensorial experiences. Montessori Schools use special didactic materials, a carefully curated environment (furniture, space, and design) and planned activities to help the child explore and discover.
At this stage, language and speech are important. The child hears it and is encouraged to use it. Reading through phonetics is taught when the child is ready. Concrete materials help the child use his/her natural inclination to reason, calculate and estimate. Music, art, geography, science and spatial awareness are incorporated into class activities to promote holistic learning. Life skills like dressing, preparing simple snacks and washing up, develop practical life skills and independence.
Six to twelve years: ‘Reasoning Mind’
A child makes the transition from absorbing to reasoning at six years old. Between six and twelve years, the child becomes receptive to learning.
The ‘Reasoning Mind’ is defined by three developmental drivers – a thirst for facts, a moral choice (right and wrong) and a fertile imagination. Maria Montessori termed this stage as ‘The Cosmic Plan’. It is a stage where the child questions his/her role is in relation to a bigger universe. It is also the best time to motivate the child’s interest and to harness his/her creativity.
That is why the Montessori Method for primary education employs both breadth and depth in its scope. Students who have experienced the Montessori Method of Education at preschool or kindergarten are already equipped with basic reasoning, language and coordination skills. At primary level, they will learn increasingly difficult levels of reading, writing, math skills and science.
All schools in Australia follow the National and State Curriculum. Montessori schools in Perth like Casa Mia are registered to use the National Montessori Curriculum. All students undertake the same National testing in Years 3, 5,7 and 9. Sitting for exams trains discipline, time management, and other skills that are very much part of Life Skills.
The Montessori Method is designed to meet the needs of the child at each stage of development. It is a system that promotes learning at the individual’s speed and ability. Find out how Casa Mia Montessori School can help your child grow up to be an independent learner with a natural intellectual curiosity.