Montessori Skills Needed for Independent Learning

Dear Parents,

Next year’s 1st-12th grade curriculum is undecided, however, everything hints towards an online or hybrid approach.  This new environment requires children to manage their day with less direct supervision and according to their personal schedule.   In this situation, students are provided with the overall goals they have to achieve for the week, and what they have to do is develop a plan on their own for achieving that particular goal. 

One positive message we have heard from our former parents is the ease with which our children who are now in elementary and middle school adapted to online learning. After three years in a Montessori school, a child has the core skills to self-direct and manage their day to day timetable without continuous monitoring and direction other non-Montessori students need. 

 If you visit a Montessori classroom, it becomes obvious how these skills develop.  The teacher will start the day with lessons during circle time. However, after that, the teacher will encourage each child to decide on their own what to work on.  Teachers monitor and guide the students’ progress chart, but simultaneously allow them full autonomy.

Independent Pacing:  Montessori students move at their own pace. Instead of participating in a teacher-led lecture or activities throughout the day, where all students perform the same tasks, each student works on lessons that fit their current ability level.  If a student is really engrossed in a math lesson, for example, he or she can spend as much time as needed to master the skill. Montessori students have weekly goals, rather than hourly assignments. Some goals might be the same for all students, but other goals can highly vary according to their independent opinion. 

Self-Scheduling: Montessori children get the chance to gain full exposure to the concept of “time-management” at an early age.  It is a skill that is essential to succeed in online or hybrid learning. The teacher begins to discuss with the child the idea of choosing to work in the math, language, and cultural areas.  The choice is entirely up to the child.  If the child is having a difficult time making a choice, the teacher will help them with the decision process and invite them to work with a particular material.  This is the first step when it comes to reflecting on what you do at school; time management.   Children may decide where they will do their assigned work. Some type of work is best done at a desk, while other types should be done while lying on the floor, or sitting in the reading corner.  The lessons are also chronologically sequenced in a specific manner.  They are sequenced this way so the child will adapt, learn, and succeed.  They are designed with careful planning and strategy, so as to encourage the child to learn, finishing one step at a time in an organized manner.  In this way, the children do not get overwhelmed with boredom, and they can achieve the goal they had set for themselves.  Organization is one of the key components of the Montessori classroom. 

Lessons in progress. Montessori children decide what to work on:  Students choose the lessons they would like to work on first, gather the appropriate material for these lessons and choose a comfortable location in the classroom.

Responsibility: In Montessori education, children take responsibility for their own learning.  There is a certain amount of work for them to do, and they are assigned the responsibility to complete it.  They must manage their time and choose what they want to do and when.  The teacher will help them in any way possible.  Since Montessori students are responsible for making their personal choices, they naturally develop independent learning.

Self-Discipline: The freedom and responsibility discussed above instills discipline in a child. Learning discipline is only possible if you hold the freedom to make choices.  Montessori classrooms do not consistently control and keep the child in-check because that imposes discipline from the outside and does not give the child the opportunity to learn it by himself or herself.

Flexibility: Although the school maintains a regular schedule of daily activities, it also offers flexibility to accommodate special recreational events. The morning work period may sometimes be utilized in welcoming visitors. This kind of flexibility and recreation allows our students to take advantage of opportunities as they arise, rather than being restricted to a rigid schedule.

Students are also given plenty of responsibility for maintaining the classroom, planning meals and snacks, and working through problems as they come up in their practical life.  All these features are not seen as distractions from the primary curriculum but are considered vital parts of the curriculum itself.

Children maintaining their classroom

Nothing makes us happier than seeing our past students doing well.  We’ll be more than happy to hear from you! Let us know how you are doing.  If you are someone considering Montessori for the first time, please reach out, and we will be more than happy to assist you in learning about our program.

If you need childcare for your 1st -5th grader as the school goes virtual, consider our new Elementary Support Program.  

Thank You,

Janell Montague (Director) and Deloris Hinger

Novi Woods Montessori

(248) 624-2211