The term “lifelong learner” gets used a lot when discussing education, but what does it really mean to be a lifelong learner? When does the love of learning and thirst for personal growth begin? Turns out, it is never too early to become a passionately curious individual with drive and dreams. When a child is in an environment that gives them the freedom to explore and pursue their passions—an environment like the Montessori classroom—the benefits are extraordinary.
Here is how Montessori education can turn your child into a lifelong learner:
There Is No Ceiling on Growth
One of the unique things about Montessori is that each child has their own individualized learning plan. The teacher carefully considers what is best for every student, so that everyone in the class can reach their maximum potential. It doesn’t matter if some children learn faster than others or if others struggle with certain concepts.
Being able to move at one’s own pace without getting pressured to complete assignments within a set time period eliminates a sense of competition. Plus, each student can focus on their work and see their improvement over time, giving them a sense of accomplishment as their skills grow and expand.
Lifelong learners understand that growth is a process, and that process can begin as early as a Montessori preschool program.
Children Have Freedom To Explore
“Freedom within Limits” is one of the Montessori philosophies with which the curriculum and environment is crafted. Maria Montessori that children learned best when they were free to make decisions for themselves and explore the possibilities. Montessori also noticed that children are naturally inquisitive and will gravitate towards their passions.
In the Montessori classroom, each student is nurtured to use their interests to guide their lessons. A child who is interested in music, for instance, may use music beats to learn how to count or do fundamental mathematics. Another child may like fish and will read books about marine life to learn about the oceans.
But the freedom to explore does not stop there. Throughout Montessori education, children are encouraged to conduct their own research and to seek out answers with critical thinking. Being able to find alternative routes to the correct answer is an extremely important skill in today’s world, and it is something that drives lifelong learners to continue their education well into adulthood.
Montessori Lessons Are a Strong Foundation
The Montessori classroom may seem a little unorthodox if you have never visited one before, but it is also a place of concentration and hard work. There are dozens of materials for children to learn academic skills like reading, writing, and mathematics. However, practical life skills and sensorial knowledge is also gained through the use of everyday utensils, outdoor time, and role playing.
Children use the Montessori materials and books in the class to gain a broad range of skills. For example, a child using blocks will focus on colors or counting. Others may trace sandpaper letters or numbers with their fingers, learning to both count and recognize the shapes of the figures.
This focus on concrete concepts prior to learning about the abstract ensures that children have a strong foundation upon which to build their education.
Social Skills and Community Are Also Strengthened
The multi-age classroom is also key in promoting lifelong learning. Montessori students are placed in classes with a larger age range, giving the older students a chance to become mentors. This provides opportunities for the students to learn from and teach one another. Collaboration is emphasized in Montessori, not competition.
Such an environment teaches students of all ages how to navigate a social setting. Soft skills are just as important as hard skills, after all.
Additionally, enrolling your child in a Montessori program means that they will be part of a community. The class becomes a family, in a sense, and they can gain lifelong friends and a strong support network.
Looking For a Montessori School?
There is no doubt that attending a Montessori program is beneficial to your child. The positive impact of being able to freely explore and engage with other students is something your child will carry through their entire lifetime. Instead of having their curiosity squashed, they are allowed to experience the world and become a lifelong learner.