The Montessori Kindergarten is actually a combination of two systems which enable the best learning environment at a tender but creative age. Kindergarten refers to the method of education used by most schools at the kindergarten age, which is usually till the age of 7, while Montessori is the specific method of instruction and does not have any specific age limit. The Kindergarten style of learning is usually designed for children between the ages of three and five. It also extends to age six or goes below three years in certain specific schools. The Montessori Method of education aims at building a child’s cognitive powers through spontaneous activity, collaborative play, and practical learning through a very, very specifically designed environment.
The Montessori System
The children are encouraged to make creative choices in group or individual activities. This system enables the child to explore and learn through the carefully designed activities. The Montessori classroom environment is specifically designed and scientifically crafted to provide the correct ambience for children of a particular age range.
The Kindergarten System
The kindergarten system started to become popular from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. Children under the age of 7 were not sent to school on the belief that they had not yet developed the requisite ability to learn. The word “kindergarten” is a German word for children’s garden. The early education model of kindergarten sees children as tiny flowers with great potential to bloom. The system admits that these children are varied and need care, but it focuses on their individual potential and further views their potential as glorious when they learn in a group. The kindergarten provides freedom to the children and encourages learning under guidance and supervision rather than strict, stifling directives. The kindergarten is usually filled with objects that are attractive to children and encourage the children to play with those objects.
These objects, like beautifully colored triangles, squares, rectangles etc., were designed to attune the children with the patterns of nature along with providing materials to them such as clay, paper, sand, etc. to build foundation skills such as sculpting, weaving, folding etc. This stimulates their imaginations along with letting them take their first step towards turning their imagination into reality while still being attuned to the laws of nature.
The Montessori Method of education is applied to all age groups during schooling. The two systems are combined at schools, which begin at the toddler level. The Montessori classroom environments are specifically prepared and are populated with strategically placed materials in keeping with the Montessori system of education, which enables the children to physically select the work.
A combination of the two systems gives the best results.
The Montessori Kindergarten uses specifically designed objects placed in a particularly designed environment and exposes them to kindergarten students in order to enable them to grasp complex concepts at a very tender age and in a fun-filled learning environment. These little children are also able to improvise abstract applications from a very young age. The Kindergarten Montessori materials allow these toddler students to develop convenient routines and relate them to different tasks at this young age. This provides the necessary base for this young learner to take on more intricate tasks with ease. This system also encourages discipline along with imagination and creativity. These toddlers can have access to the materials of their choice but they also have to take the necessary responsibility to return these materials to their proper place.
The Materials progressively increase in complexity which enables these young learners to transition into more complex tasks with great ease. These apparently simple materials have the benefit of teaching math skills, language skills, and social skills as the learning environment is in a group along with cultural learning.
The Montessori Kindergarten classrooms are designed to enable the children to enjoy the learning process so that he or she wants to come back for more the next day.