Mentoring the Montessori Way, by Hilary Green


Congratulations to Hilary Green, Director of the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies at Barrie School, whose article "Mentoring the Montessori Way" was featured in the January edition of Washington Family Magazine!


Mentoring the Montessori Way

By Hilary Green
(Special to Washington Family Magazine, January 2012)

As Dr. Montessori said in The Absorbent Mind, “We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.” The child learns from the adult and the adult learns from the child. This dedication to life long learning begins with recognizing that teaching is a “becoming process” and that we are always growing and learning.

To learn any craft well, many benefit from learning from masters in the field. To become a Montessori teacher, it takes years of observation, practice and patience to really feel as though one has become a master. Yet the Montessori principles can be applied in many settings, and Dr. Montessori’s teachings of grace and courtesy can be incorporated into everything we do with our children.

In the Montessori classroom, there is a three-year age group (ex – 3-6 year olds in the Early Childhood classroom). In this setting, the older children are looked to as the mentors for the younger children, helping them to become familiar with the environment and with lessons throughout the day. This mentorship happens naturally where the children just fall into the role they should have. Some children (and adults) are stronger leaders, but all in a Montessori environment have the opportunity to share with and help others.

At home, you can apply Montessori methods by allowing your child to be involved with projects and activities and by modeling expectations. In the Montessori classroom, the teacher models expected behavior, ways to use one’s voice, and the manner in which to use the materials. The children learn from this modeling and then remind each other of the expectations. At home, show your child how to help with preparing a meal, setting the table, putting away clothes, or even picking out a book to read at bed time. Then let your child try it on his or her own, giving gentle guidance as needed until it can be successfully completed independently. This helps reinforce the message that everyone in the community is important and that it is important for everyone to be involved.

Hilary Green is Director of the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies (IAMS). To learn more about the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies, the Barrie School, or to schedule an observation of a classroom, please contact us at 301-576-2800 or www.barrie.org.

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