The Montessori method is an educational approach that emphasizes individualized learning and hands-on exploration. Developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori in the early 20th century, the method emphasizes the importance of allowing children to learn at their own pace, with a focus on independence, self-motivation, and a sense of personal responsibility. At the same time, there has been a growing emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education in recent years, as these subjects are increasingly seen as key to success in today’s rapidly changing world. Some may wonder if there is a contradiction between these two approaches. However, in this post, we will argue that there is no contradiction between the Montessori method and a focus on STEM education and that in fact, the Montessori method may be particularly well-suited to preparing children for success in these fields.
MOTIVATION IS TOP PRIORITY
One of the key features of the Montessori method is its emphasis on intrinsic motivation. According to Montessori philosophy, children are naturally curious and motivated to learn, and it is the role of the educator to create an environment that fosters and supports this innate motivation. In the Montessori classroom, children are given the freedom to choose their own activities and explore them at their own pace, without pressure from teachers or external rewards. This approach is intended to cultivate a love of learning that will stay with children throughout their lives. Our Montessori preschool programs in Fremont, Danville, and Dublin all use these techniques to the highest satisfaction not just of parents but of the children themselves. Kids love to learn when you let them!
This focus on intrinsic motivation is particularly relevant to STEM education. In order to succeed in fields such as science and math, students need to be self-motivated and curious, willing to explore and experiment on their own. The Montessori method, with its emphasis on independence and self-direction, can help to cultivate these skills. By giving children the freedom to explore and learn at their own pace, Montessori education encourages them to take ownership of their learning and to develop the self-discipline and focus needed to succeed in STEM fields.
Another important aspect of the Montessori method is its focus on hands-on learning. Many adults say that they are visual learners; they may have forgotten that, as children, they were first “hands on learners.” Our Montessori classrooms are filled with materials and activities that are designed to be explored and manipulated by children, allowing them to learn through their senses and direct experience. This approach is particularly well-suited to STEM education, which often requires a strong focus on experimentation and problem-solving. By allowing children to learn by doing, rather than simply reading or listening, Montessori education can help to foster a deeper understanding of STEM concepts and to develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are essential in these fields.
A KEY FOR OUR STUDENTS TO ADVANCE IN LEARNING IS MONTESSORI
At the same time, it is important to note that Montessori education is not anti-academic. In fact, many Montessori schools offer rigorous academic programs that include a strong emphasis on STEM subjects. The difference is that in Montessori education, the focus is on providing children with the tools and skills they need to learn, rather than on simply imparting information to them. By emphasizing intrinsic motivation, hands-on learning, and a focus on self-direction, Montessori education can help children to develop the skills they need to succeed in STEM fields, even in the face of challenging or complex material.
It is also worth noting that the Montessori method is not inherently anti-technology. While it is true that Montessori classrooms typically emphasize hands-on, tangible materials, there is no reason why technology cannot be incorporated into the Montessori classroom in a way that supports the method’s core principles. In fact, many Montessori educators have begun to experiment with the use of technology in the classroom, using it to supplement and enhance traditional Montessori materials. By taking a thoughtful and intentional approach to the use of technology, Montessori educators can help to prepare children for success in STEM fields. Many Bay Area parents have a lot of anxiety about their children in our increasingly competitive world. They can know, for a fact, that our programs help kids be prepared.