Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Montessori Musings

By: MAIRE CORBETT

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Back when I left school, I knew I wanted to work with young children, very young children. Yes, there was Primary Teaching, but those children were too old! I heard something from someone about Montessori, an approach to working with children under six and I was sold! I bought a book by EM Standing called Maria Montessori, her life and work and I was so taken with her thoughts on young children, the respect she had for their potential, for their competence and for their rights. She believed in children choosing what they wanted to do and for how long, she believed in children exploring with their senses, she believed in children being in beautiful environments. She believed in children having TIME, being an advocate of a 3-hour cycle, in which children can engage and explore in their environment, indoors and outdoors. She believed in supporting children’s independence. All these principles are to be found in Síolta and Aistear.

 

Now I often hear people saying Montessori is rigid, it is overscheduled and it limits children’s potential and is over academic! How did this perception come about?

Going back to principles
Montessori was developed over 100 years ago so is of its time. But Maria Montessori was ahead of her time. At one stage, she wanted to be an engineer, but in fact went on to be the first female Medical Doctor in Italy! The world has changed in 100 years, and the principles she explored and established at that time are still relevant, though some of the specifics may not be. For example, the skill of polishing was valued and important back then, but not so much in today’s world. The exercises in practical life showed children skills that were important in that time, so let’s see what skills children may need in today’s world and see how we can provide for those. Dressing is still a needed skill for example. There were few toys in that time, so Montessori developed her own apparatus, such as dressing frames. Now we have big, soft dolls, so the skill of dressing can be practiced with those dolls and real sized clothes in the home corner, through play. These still give children exercises in practical life, but in a more playful, imaginative way. Similarly pouring and spooning can be experienced by children in a more playful way in the home corner, as the children make tea, have dinner and engage with other children.

Home corner in early years service - Montessori Musings

Play and hands-on learning
Montessori speaks about how important movement is to the development of the mind, saying mind and movement are part of the same entity. At the time Montessori wrote The Absorbent Mind this may have had a different expression, because society was different then. But remembering her passion for real experiences, real items for children to engage with and explore…I am convinced she would be a complete advocate of the hands-on learning and exploration Aistear and Síolta require. This means that in today’s early years environments we see real life materials such as items from home that children see in everyday life. These include true to life toasters, kettle, food, tea-sets, cooking equipment that enable children to play, explores roles and abstract concepts in a very concrete, hands-on way.

Mixed ages:
Montessori believed that children learn best in groups with children of mixed ages. The most common age range is 3 years to 6 years, from those early days when she established her Casa dei Bambini in Rome. She said

The main thing is that the groups should contain different ages, because it has great influence on the cultural development of the child. This is obtained by the relations of the children among themselves. You cannot imagine how well a young child learns from an older child; how patient the older child is with the difficulties of the younger.

This is something to consider as with the new ECCE qualifying age there may be children younger than we used to take in our rooms. This this something we will return to in future Scéalta posts.

For more ideas on Aistear and Montessori look at our 4 podcasts here: 
https://www.earlychildhoodireland.ie/work/quality-practice/national-frameworks/aistear-and-montessori/

For more ideas on Mixed Ages read: 
https://www.earlychildhoodireland.ie/blog/developing-curriculum-for-children-in-mixed-age-groups/

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

pets(1) early childhood educator(2) Biting(1) UNICEF report(1) Interactions(2) Traffic Lights(1) ERASMUS+(3) AIM(2) Inspirational(2) Consent(1) Magic(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Brain(1) Mental Health(4) Leargas(1) Intention(1) Sustainable(1) Smiles(1) Childhood(1) Infectious diseases(1) Covid response(1) Empathy(1) RTE Investigates(1) keezy(1) Scéalta Blog(101) Wonder(1) reading(5) RIE philosphy(1) Celebrate(1) Quality(4) Your place(1) Performance Management(1) Whole Group(1) Care routines(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) COVID-19(11) Growing up Outdoors(1) conference(1) Síolta QAP(1) racism(1) Mealtimes(1) Covid19 crisis(1) healthy eating policies(1) respect(5) conversations(1) Change(1) Staff Motivation(1) development(8) ELC(1) Sleep(1) Learning journals(1) Budget 2020(1) Budget 2018(1) Margy Whalley(1) Mount Everest(1) Playdough(1) movement behaviours(1) primary education(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Learning Journal(2) babies(7) Time Out(1) Digital(1) play pod(1) Magnavacchi(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) Early Years Education(1) NAEYC(1) College(1) Limerick(1) reopening(1) Home Corner(1) Imagination(3) journey(1) Kerry(1) Primary School(2) St. Patrick's Day(1) children’s learning(1) Investment(2) Wilenski(1) play stories(2) science week(2) Role play(1) Book Club(2) Giraffe(2) Academic Skills(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Anthony Semann(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) Mindfulness(2) Rising to the Challenge(2) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Nutrition(1) CIT(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) relationships(17) Japan(1) Creative(1) National Holiday(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) imotion(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) risk(2) Iraq(1) curiosity(3) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) interacting(2) dining(1) phone apps(1) Self Help Skills(1) Environment(2) ECCE(7) Vertical grouping(1) Diversity(1) keep in touch(1) Flowers(1) Effect of Lockdown(1) curriculum(5) Trade Unions(1) Maynooth University(2) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Family(1) Youtube Series(1) Feeding(1) Event Guide(1) mental health problems(1) Budget 2019(2) Gardening(1) GDPR(1) Educators(2) Sweets(1) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Awards 2018(3) Pedagogical leaders(1) Adoption(1) Awards Night(1) Decisions(1) children development(1) stories(3) purpose(1) eating(1) Study Trip(1) Awards 2019(1) environments(1) Plants(1) Upcycling(1) blog(44) Large Doll Play(1) transitions(10) Hand Hygiene(2) Buddy Bench(1) Wrapping paper(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Interaction(1) Names(1) Favouritism(1) First 5 strategy(1) Human Resources(1) Snakes(1) UN(1) early years learning(1) Seas Suas(1) Story(2) Christmas Creativity(2) Wendy Lee(3) Care-giving routines(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Affordability(1) Twitter(1) IGL(1) Capable(1) Early Years Educators(3) Snack Time(1) DCYA(6) Magda Gerber(1) Leprechauns(1) overhear(1) Mathematicians(1) preschool settings(1) social science(1) child-centric(1) Breathing(2) ECEC Setting(2) Research Seminar(1) National Research Conference 2019(1) budget(1) Death(2) Xbox(1) Music(3) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Thank you(1) Visual Impairment(1) Loving Relationships(1) Exploring(1) Small World Play(1) Teamwork(1) code of professional responsibility(1) Elders(1) Self-Esteem(1) Well-Being(10) Engineering Ireland(1) staying connected(1) Pretend Play(1) christmas(9) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) risk assessment(1) Maria Montessori(1) books(4) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Children's Voice(1) Communications(1) Identity and Belonging(4) outdoor play(6) Mixed age groups(3) CCTV(1) listen(1) Covid pandemic(2) story time(2) art of the relationship(1) annual conference(1) Nonverbal(1) Summer(1) Fee Play(1) Loss(1) Children's Rights(3) Graduate(1) early life(1) outdoor environment(1) Nuturing interactions(1) learning bias(1) learning hub(1) feisty(1) Document Learning(1) United Nations(1) Equality(1) Norway(2) research submissions(1) Challenges(1) Inter-generational learning(2) Trade union(1) Online(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) SAC(1) Laughter(1) Social Skills(1) Inter-generational(2) Albert Einstein(1) educarer(1) Independence(1) Culture(2) Rich Documentation(1) coronavirus(1) Pobal(1) Anxiety(2) HR(1) Funding(1) reopening ireland(1) Recycle(1) Identity(5) structure(1) linc(1) Administrative Burden(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) Universal Design(2) Seanchaí(1) Performing(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) man up(1) Spiders(1) toddlers(3) Running(1) Certificate(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) Graduation(1) Storytelling(7) Sustainability(3) Iceland(1) Children and families(1) Potential(1) Time(1) UD(1) Line-ups(1) Super Shed Stories(2) Valentine's Day(3) science(3) Socioemotional development(1) iOS(1) play(35) Engagement(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Treasure Chest(1) under 3's(3) gender bias(1) TRAP(1) Policy(2) Meet the Members(1) maternity health(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) june29(1) Síolta(129) Building Resilience(1) Child mental health(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Digital Devices(1) Childcare(3) Impact(1) University(1) play pods(2) Arlene Forster(1) Italy(1) Autism(4) EECERA 2016(1) Titles(1) National Awards 2018(2) Traditions(2) Opportunities(1) education(2) Degree(1) San Miniato(4) Appreciation(1) early years research(2) Orla Kenny(1) CPD(1) Drawing(2) bloom app(1) Snacks(1) Thanks(1) Child Care(1) Confident(1) Health(2) Maths Week(1) risky play(2) Early Learning and Care(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) emotions(2) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Inspections(1) Exercise(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) TOY Programme(1) Routines(2) Emergent Curriculum(1) Academics(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Family wall(1) Settling in(4) Irish(1) Self-regulation(1) ReCreate(2) MECPI(1) aistear blog(3) Supernanny(1) Masterclass(2) gender stereotype(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Oireachtas(1) Pre-School Services(1) Horizon 2020(1) Kids Own(1) Wesco(1) Proceedings Journal(1) Workforce(1) Decision Making(1) Competent(1) Maternity Leave(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Builders(1) World Health Organisation(1) Facebook(1) Reopening Childcare(1) Penguins(1) Technology(3) Book Review(1) Pobal sector profile(1) SPICE Framework(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) community(5) dogs(1) Ceremony(1) First 5(1) ears(1) Arithmetic(1) Blocks(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Leadership(1) online training(1) experience(1) PIP(1) Online Research Symposium(1) early childhood(1) Light table(1) NCCA(3) Early Years(1) trust(4) Communicating(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) Siolta blog(8) Malaguzzi(1) parents(6) Mantra(1) Art(6) Reading Time(1) Sculptures(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Gratitude(1) Behaviour(3) Positivity(1) youdoodle(1) Design(1) child-centred approach(1) dublin(2) Trick or treat(1) Mayo(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Engineering(3) Touch(1) Recycling(2) Return to Work Training(1) listening(1) Body Language(1) Games(1) refugees(1) Glitter(2) Growing up in Ireland(3) developing motor skills(1) INTO(1) planning(1) Support(1) Rituals(1) educating(1) Syria(1) apps for children(1) Frustrations(1) Awards(2) InspireMe.ie(1) Exclusion(1) Winter(1) Belonging(3) communication(4) Treasure(1) outdoors(4) childcare services(1) Trigonometry(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Confidence(1) scéalta(48) Mud kitchens(1) STEM(3) code of ethics(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) meals(3) Counting(1) collaboration(1) social media(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Pedagogy(2) Reggio Emilia(1) Little Buddies(1) Infection Control(1) COVID-19 landscape(1) baby room(1) worries(1) Through the looking glass(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Sessional service(1) Maynooth(1) peer group(1) animals(2) Learning Stories(9) Learning through Storytelling(1) Mark Twain(1) learners(1) Arts(1) life long learning(1) Lego(2) learning(19) Learning Stories Award(3) outdoor space(3) Shoes(1) creche(1) Reggio(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) Maths(6) role playing(1) Party(1) family time(1) Eritrea(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) Celebrations(4) awards 2020(1) lockdown(1) dining experiences(1) School Age Childcare(1) Early Childhood Ireland(6) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) MA(1) grandchild(1) Yoga(1) Grief(1) Kilkenny(1) Relaxation(1) Scents(1) Children's Research Network(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Easter(1) Jenga(1) Exit interview(1) Shapes(2) DES Inspection(1) Motor neuron disease(1) AsIAm(2) Patterns(1) emotional environment(2) Interests(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Learning Story(1) Our Little Seed(1) preschool(4) Afghanistan(1) Playschool(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Plastic(1) Community involvement(1) UNCRC(2) Map(1) Mo Scéal(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) Advocacy(1) Research Conference 2019(1) Montessori(3) Maths Week Ireland(1) Photographs(1) Bereavement(2) ECEC(3) Vietnam(1) New Appointments(1) Learning Story Awards(2) Reflective Practice(1) Dance(1) Training(2) European Project(1) Sequins(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Sociodramatic play(1) pablo(1) E.coli(1) friendships(1) Creativity(5) Meal time(1) The Jelly King(1) Buddies(1) Fabric(1) Participation(2) ICBN(1) Inclusion(3) Prexit(1) food(1) EM Standing(1) Halloween(2) Pen green(1) Workplace well-being(1) Weather(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Laugh(1) Professionalisation(5) Window(1) research(6) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) mushrooms(1) Fantasy play(1) Qualifications(1) Employee(1) Love(3) emotional well-being(1) education system(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Cork(1) continual professional development(1) documentation(4) bonds(1) Painting(1) memories(1) Santa(2) Engineers Week(2) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) value(1) Queues(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Sport(1) play therapy(1) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) show and tell(1) Stress(2) Aistear(125) Cognitive development(1) National Awards 2019(1) Exploratory Play(1) GoToMeeting app(1) behavioural science(1) supportive environments(2) Craft(1) Obesity(1) Ariana Pucci(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) Children(4) responsive relationships(1) Visitors(1) Thinking(1) Irish guidelines(1) routine(2) Workplace Relations(3)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine