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Montessori school: yes or no? The concept at a glance

Regular school or alternative school form ... The school landscape in Germany is confusing and a complicated field, especially for parents who do not yet know which type of school is the right one for their child. But if they get information early on, it will be easier for them to find a suitable school for the little ones.

Uta Künkler, education expert at www.besser-bilden.de, introduces the Montessori concept and explains what a Montessori school is and what makes it special. As a parent, you can make a better decision: Montessori, yes or no?

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1. Trendy Montessori school

Montessori pedagogy in kindergarten and school is over 100 years old and really nothing new. But after the poor results of the PISA studies, learning according to the Montessori concept is experiencing a new trend. In the whole of Germany and also in other European countries and the USA, Montessori schools and kindergartens have literally been shooting up out of the ground for several years.

Well over 500 schools in Germany now work exclusively according to the principles of the Italian doctor Dr. Maria Montessori. In many public mainstream schools, too, teachers are adopting more and more aspects of the Montessori concept. In the pre-school sector, many more kindergartens, almost exclusively or in part, have taken up the Montessori pedagogy. And the number is steadily increasing.

The reason: More and more parents are doubting whether their child is in good hands in a regular school and whether it is given enough individual support there.

Perhaps you have already considered whether the usual route via Sprengelschule (school that is closest to the family) and a kindergarten in the neighborhood is the right one for you and your child, or whether it would be worth considering doing the Montessori - Familiarize yourself with the concept?

Most mothers and fathers are not yet familiar with the vocabulary of alternative education and rarely know what a Montessori school is. Reason enough to do it once To clear up prejudices and to summarize the principles of Montessori pedagogy more precisely - in order to give all those interested the Answer to the question "Montessori Yes or no?" to facilitate.

2. What is a Montessori school?

In our guides on choosing a school you will find lots of tips and checklists to help you find the right school for your child, including a guide through the jungle of school types:

Maria Montessori wrote in her work "The Discovery of the Child"their findings from years of research with disabled and healthy children. That was in 1909. Since then it has had an undisputed place in world educational literature. But what are the groundbreaking findings that the doctor Maria Montessori recorded in it? What is a Montessori school?

The Montessori concept is based on Self-determination, the encourage children's natural thirst for knowledge and criticizes rigid timetables. A central, if not the most essential, core idea in Montessori's work is: "Help me do my job by myself. "Behind this much-quoted sentence is the profound trust that children per se have a natural urge to learn and grow.

Because: Who does not know this intense concentration with which a toddler can examine a ladybug or the incessant curiosity with which kindergarten children can bring their parents to the edge of their own explanatory skills with questions about God and the world? Unrestrained urge is behind Montessori's attitude towards the child.

According to Maria Montessori, the task of adults is to maintain and nourish this urge by creating a suitable environment. In practice this means: parents and educators should give the child Play and work materials offer that its whole address individual (learning) interests

Under no circumstances should the child be overwhelmed or torn out of deep concentration for a certain thing just to draw their attention to something completely different. The classic school operation, in which all children have arithmetic in the first hour and reading in the second hour, is heavily criticized in the Montessori concept.

scoyo fits every type of school:

The move away from frontal teaching towards free work - Montessori schools encourage concentrated self-employment.

Maria Montessori is convinced that Learning only through the senses can lead. Accordingly, the easiest way for children to learn is through concrete action with concrete materials. Put simply, the Montessori concept means that Turning away from frontal teaching. The child should be motivated to act and not emulate the words of the teacher or educator. This principle of Montessori pedagogy can be illustrated with a familiar word from Confucius: "Tell me and I will forget it. Show me, and maybe I will keep it. Let me do it and I will be able to do it."

In the developmental psychology literature, "sensitive phases"or "periods" written. What is meant are periods of time in which children have a particularly high willingness and show ability for certain learning content.

Montessori pedagogy wants to take this into account: For example, if one child is passionate about mathematical relationships, while another is particularly open to language learning at the same time, both students are encouraged equally according to their interests.

This is exactly the goal of schools that work according to the Montessori concept in the so-calledFree work to. During this time, the children themselves choose the topic they want to deal with and develop certain learning content according to their own needs.

Does a child have the opportunity and the freedom to to use sensitive phases individually and optimally, it is particularly easy for him to concentrate on an activity or a learning topic. Maria Montessori attaches great importance to this deep concentration. She describes the "polarization of attention" as "the absorption in a work, a concentrated, freely chosen work, which has the strength to concentrate and, instead of tiring, increases the energies, the mental abilities and the self-control. "Because in phases of full concentration a child, according to Montessori, gains knowledge and at the same time self-confidence.

The aim of the Montessori concept is therefore to enable concentrated activities. The facilities try to respond to these demands with an environment that is optimally adapted to the child's level of development. At Montessori, regardless of whether it is kindergarten or school, you mostly work with them Teaching and exercise material that encourages self-employment and enables the children to control themselves.

3. Montessori school, yes or no? The concept briefly and concisely explained

Here you will find a list of the fundamental differences between the Montessori concept and mainstream schools so that you can answer the question: "Montessori, yes or no?" can answer better.

►No grades

The children's achievements are not assessed with grades in schools that operate according to the Montessori concept. Instead, regular appraisal interviews are held with the teachers and the students receive a written performance report every six months and at the end of the year. In addition, a so-called IzEL sheet (information on the development and learning process) is kept for each student. This shows the learning progress as well as the social and work behavior in detail without school grades.

► Vintage mix

Schoolchildren work in mixed-year groups, so first and fourth graders are together in one group. This is not only intended to promote individuality, but also to strengthen social togetherness through cooperation with others. The principle: the little ones learn from the big ones.

► Free work

A central element of the Montessori concept is free work. During this period, each student is independently looking for something to do with learning materials. The teachers do not give any material and are only there to help the children with problems and questions. For example, Paul is currently practicing with the pen, Marie is playing a game of parts of speech and at the same time Hanna is studying division in the hundreds. Since the children should work as concentrated and independently as possible, almost all Montessori materials provide help for self-control.

►No frontal teaching

In Montessori pedagogy, individuality and independence are very important. Therefore you will hardly ever find frontal teaching there. In contrast to mainstream schools, not all children do the same tasks at the same time. Rather, each child should work individually according to their personal level of knowledge and learning pace.

► Graduated from school

In principle, children of a Montessori school can take all state qualifications from secondary school to high school. However, as a rule, they have to take the exams as external candidates at the state schools. In addition to the state school leaving certificate, at the end of the ninth grade, students also take a Montessori qualification. The core element is the so-called "great practical work".

►School change to the mainstream school

Due to its strong orientation towards state curricula, the Montessori concept offers a good opportunity to switch to regular school. As a rule, it is possible without any problems at state primary schools. In principle, transfer to secondary schools is also possible at any time, but is usually associated with trial lessons and / or knowledge tests in higher grades.

4. Tips from the scoyo editorial team: Which school for my child?

Montessori school - yes or no for my child?

Attending a Montessori school is generalsuitable for every childt.

Per: Does your child have B. Difficulty following the often rigid instruction at a state school, free learning without pressure could do well.

Cons: At the same time, however, there are few rules and structures that could be a burden for children with concentration difficulties.

Important to know: At Montessori schools, as with most alternative school forms in Germany, a strong commitment from parents provided. Information and facts about registration, costs, etc. at a Montessori school can be found here

More information: montessori-deutschland.de

about the author

Education expert Uta Künkler | © www.besser-bilden.deUta Künkler is Education expert and editor for better-bilden.de, an online magazine on the subjects of education, school, family and upbringing, including a guide and mother's blog. What are the alternative school concepts? Which school is right for my child? You can find the answer at www.besser-bilden.de.