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Major Concepts Developement

of

Montessori's

Theory

of

While Montessori noted distinguishing characteristics associated with the child's interests and abilities at each plane, she argued, in order to help children reach and successfully pass through these stages, it would be more effective if the child's learning setting was carefully designed to meet the needs and interest of that child. In order to meets these needs, Montessori concentrated on certain concepts in her theory which would lead to development in that child. Some of the concepts are auto-education with didactic material, individualized education, the Montessori environment, independence and the prepared environment, non-graded grouping, education of the senses, and control of error (Montessori, 1964; Orem, 1971). The first concept of Montessori's theory is Auto- Education with Didactic Material. According to Montessori (1964), the child builds itself through experiences on the environment. On this notion, she developed a set of didactic materials which leads to sensory education, muscular coordination, and language development (Orem, 1971). These didactic materials have builtin "control of error" which gives the child concrete proof of whether its work is right or wrong, this also frees the teacher from being the person of reinforcement (Orem, 71). Control of Error, is another concept of the Montessori theory. By being placed in direct contact with the materials of learning, the child is not being held to the pace or interests of the teacher (Montessori, 1964). The materials give the child to a chance to learn what it has an inner drive to learn and learn it at his own speed. They are also designed to allow a child, after the teacher prepares the learning environment, to work independently until, at his or her own pace, he or she acquires skills of ever-increasing complexity (Montessori, 1964).

Another concept of the theory is Individualized Education. Montessori believed that because it is the child's potential for auto-education, we should be more concerned with the child than the method of teaching. In Montessori's method of teaching the natural drive of the child to learn is freed. Every child is unique in terms of his learning capacity, rate, and interest (Lillard, 1996). Childcentered education encourages children to express their individuality in learning. This learning system aims at providing each child with an opportunity to develop at its own pace in a spirit of cooperation and respect for themselves and others (Orem, 1971).

The Montessori environment is another concept of this theory. She believed within the classroom there she be movement and activity at many levels (Orem, 1971). The furniture is moveable, and the didactic materials are designed for manipulation. Children are free to move about the prepared environment. In this environment, the teachers are there to aid the child in becoming well coordinated through specific exercises and motor training within the classroom and outdoors (Montessori, 1964). The teacher is also there to reduce the obstacles to the child's orderly movement and not involve herself unnecessarily (Orem, 1971). The child needs freedom to collaborate with his environment and perfect his motor behavior. In this environment the child is free to choose which exercise he wants to do first. The Montessori environment should be set up to prepare a child's natural desire to learn (Montessori, 1964). This is done by allowing each child to experience the excitement of learning by his or her own choice rather than by being forced into activity, and second, by helping him or her develop his natural tools for learning, with emphasis on freedom, learning how to learn, and development of self- confidence (Orem, 1971).

Another concept of the Montessori theory is Independence and the Prepared Environment. The prepared environment makes freedom in the school practical, with emphasis on moving individuals working at their own task during uninterrupted blocks of time (Montessori, 1964). The child furthers his or her independence with a sense of freedom. The child is free to choose his activity, work at his or her own pace, and talk with companions as long as he or she does not interfere with their work (Montessori, 1964). Montessori noted that the child learns to work by him or herself in the prepared classroom environment, enjoying the presence of other children but not necessarily working directly with them (Montessori, 1964). Non-graded Grouping is another concept of the Montessori theory. Montessori believed classes should by group by age brackets rather than by grade (Orem, 1971). For example, the first group would consist of children ages 3-5 years. Within each group, a child advances at his own pace rather than that of his companion. This provides an environment where no child feels the penalty of being "slow" neither is any child forced to mark time if the he is able to advance (Montessori, 1964). Non-graded grouping allows a child to work with older children in one subject, younger children in another, and still have social interaction with children his own age. Another benefit of non-graded grouping

is the fact that learning is enhanced for the older children when they help someone younger and the younger children are stimulated by exposure to the work of the older children (Orem).