Montessori Pedagogy

Characteristics of the Greenschool community

1 The prepared environment

As educators in the Montessori community of Greenschool, who respect the unique personality of the Child and his need to develop through his own senses and his own actions. We have taken care to create with love, an appropriately prepared, bilingual environment, attractive and safe with the following features. We have prepared a loving, well-prepared environment which is attractive and safe. Relieving the Child of the fear of making mistakes helps to strengthen his confidence and self-esteem. It helps him develop his logical thinking, stress-free and find the solution to complete his work. We are always discreetly close to him. The Child only needs to follow three basic principles:

  1. I do not harm myself, others and the environment
  2. I don't interrupt the working Child
  3. I always return my work back in its place

2 The mixed ages

Children in the community are mixed ages. Just like in the real world! In the beginning, the Child through his individual work develops on his own, understanding the importance of his own personality. Then by observing or helping other Children, he develops his socialating skills. It is an important and tender moment when you see the older children showing the younger ones how to do something.

3 Education for peace

Educators stand alongside the Children, helping them to solve their own problems and acquire the skills to resolve conflicts with respect for others. A peaceful world is not the world without war, it is when a man can live his daily life in an environment that respects his needs, regardless of social or professional position and without any discrimination of color, gender or origin .

4 Respect for the Child's need to have a connection with nature

The Greenschool garden is a natural extension of the Children's House. Children have a need to connect with the earth and nature. There they will apply all the skills they have acquired. They will observe, they will perceive the different shapes that exist in the environment, they will distinguish small details with the magnifying glass such as insects and plants. They will also find solutions for making food in the mud kitchen. They will measure how much the vegetables have grown, smell the soil after the rain. They will walk carefully without stepping on the growing plants and the insects that look for their food. They will climb the pistachio tree and run freely, always watching out for others, especially the smaller ones. We support this great need to connect the Child with nature by making frequent escapes to the forest. Long pants, safe shoes, water, sunscreen and a hat are essential on every outing.

5 The pedagogue is properly trained for the role of pedagogue-mentor

The educator has deep knowledge of child development and has been properly trained to be the Child's guide so that he or she take care of physical, mental and mental safety. The very personality of the educator becomes a guide for the Child. Insight, kindness, respect, movement, reason, prosody, humility, solidarity, enthusiasm, cooperation are necessary for the educator. He must be constantly vigilant alert in order to perceive the interests, strengths and weaknesses of each Child and suggest the appropriate activity; To decode his behavior and choices. To always be next to the Child, discreetly, to protect his concentration, offering the necessary "vacuum"., That is the necessary time it takes to find the solution on his own and to proceed to the next step. He always stands by the parents, developing a relationship of respect and trust. With the cooperation of the parents, the teacher manages to offer even more help.

6 The Montessori material

The material becomes the bridge between the Child and the environment. It acquires knowledge through the intelligent activities of Montessori materials that are based on the sensory learning experience, which is the core of learning. Montessori material has a specific structure. Its position on the shelf, its use, the way it is presented and the order of presentation are all important. They indirectly help the Child to develop their logical thinking and mathematical mind, to strengthen their sense of order, their sensory perception, their language skills, their intelligence and their infinite creativity.

Through his own experience the Child builds his intelligence. The understanding of abstract concepts, the sequence of similar situations (routine), the sensory experiences, the understanding of emotions and the acceptance of his action, help him to build his own unique "mental map". That is, to make the necessary logical associations starting from the simple to the more complex or from the complex to the simpler, in order to adapt to each new challenge. At the same time, the Child, in addition to the knowledge he acquires through the use of the material, acquires skills that help him strengthen the sense of security and acceptance as an equal member of the family-community as he can in turn make his own choices and to offer to others.

7 The role of the parent

Honest and open communication with parents is a prerequisite for the smooth adaptation and development of the Child in the Greenschool community. The Child listens to the parent and identifies with him. So as long as the parent's relationship with the community is loving, he feels safe with us and is happy.

The parent needs to know the child's developmental needs in order to understand his behavior and show respect for his personality. He needs to offer the Child an environment that will develop safely both physically and emotionally. During the adaptation the role of the parent is very important to facilitate the procedure, to create the bridge between home and school. To feel confidence in the new environment so that he can convey the same feeling to the Child by solving all his questions with the help of the educators.

Parents can call every day, at specific hours when they need to speak with the teachers. Meetings are held with the parents every month with suggestions from the educators or other scientific collaborators. Twice a year there are individual meetings with the teachers about the children's progress. There are also meetings with the Child Psychologist Mrs. Angela Muger. Once a month, parents can also have an individual meeting with Mrs. Theodoridou Angeliki to discuss issues that concern them.

Why Montessori?

As a parent and as a Montessori educator, I feel safe that the Child is in an environment, with people who know his needs and respect them. The Montessori method is a gift of life from Dr. Maria Montessori for all those involved in the upbringing of the Children and in turn a gift to the Children.

Children have a strong natural interest in learning about the world around them and through their natural curiosity they develop. By providing an environment that supports physical development, Children acquire the basic skills they need to be happy. They develop a personality with self-discipline, self-confidence, initiative, independence and love for knowledge. We want to cultivate all these skills in our Child. May all Children have access to Montessorian communities. It is the best prospect for a world of happy and creative people who love working with others.

Angeliki Theodoridou
Founder of Montessori Community Greenschool
Diploma holder AMI 3-6

Phrases we often use in the community

Montessori pedagogy is an education based on man's deepest need to develop his personality. It is a lifestyle that you have consciously decided to follow. It is based on the human need for a peaceful, harmonious life, filled with adventure and opportunities for action.

You will often be impressed by the code of communication between Children and adults. The choice of expressions have been carefully chosen and governed by respect for the Child and his needs, encouraging him to be independent without any trace of critical attitude. They may be useful in your own daily life, too!

It is something Montessori teachers say to each other and to parents, not to the Child. We often remind each other to 'follow the Child', to believe that each Child is on their own internal developmental timeline, that anything they do is for some reason.

This motivates us to look for the reason behind the Child's behavior. Following the Child means remembering that each Child is unique and has their own individual needs, talents and strengths that we need to be aware of. Also, many times trapped in stereotypes, we may give the wrong interpretation to the Child's behavior. For example, you Child may be interested in books of a specific content and not in the classic book we have in mind. That is why we always observe the interests of the Child.

Η έμφαση στη εργασία του Παιδιού είναι το βασικό στοιχείο στην παιδαγωγική. Αποφεύγουμε να λέμε στα Παιδιά "καλή δουλειά" ή "δουλειά σου είναι όμορφη" και εκφράζουμε λέξεις που τονίζουν τη συγκέντρωση που έδειξαν στη δουλειά ή με πόσο ζήλο ολοκλήρωσαν το έργο τους. Αντί : "τι όμορφη ζωγραφιά", δοκιμάστε να πείτε "Παρατήρησα ότι εργάστηκες σκληρά μέχρι να ολοκληρώσεις τη ζωγραφιά όπως ακριβώς την ήθελες". Το να επικροτούμε τη σκληρή δουλειά του Παιδιού και τα ψυχικά του χαρίσματα και όχι τα αποτελέσματά του, το βοηθάμε να αναπτύξει την αυτοπεποίθηση του και να βελτιώσει την προσπάθεια του. Όπως για παράδειγμα αντί να λέμε στο Παιδί, "Είσαι ένα καλό Παιδί", πείτε "Παρατήρησα ότι ήσουν ευγενικός όταν μοιράστηκες το παιχνίδι σου με το φίλο σου". Με αυτή τη φράση το Παιδί κατανοεί την αποδοχή της συμπεριφοράς του χωρίς κριτική διάθεση.

"The Child is the teacher" in Montessori pedagogy. The educator is there as a guide, ready to give him the instructions so that the Child can complete his work on his own. Through the prepared environment, the material and his own work, the Child discovers things about himself. Self-education is a large part of the discovery of knowledge.

When the Child asks you, "Do you like my drawing?" try asking him what he thinks about it instead of saying "fantastic drawing". Start a conversation with the Child without being busy with something else. Ask what he thought, how he decided on the colors. Help the Child to self-evaluate his work without seeking your approval.

The development of the Child's independence is a goal of all education. To show the Child how to do every job by himself. So while it's sometimes easier to simply answer a Child's question about where something is or how to do something, we often answer their question with another question like "Where could you find it? or  "Who could help you" or "ask Katerina if she can help you" If for example he is looking for his socks and we see him looking away from the cloakroom, we help him with key questions instead of giving them to the hand "Where were you when you put on your slippers? " Did you look at your place in the locker room?" This process will definitely take more time but it is worth it because this way next time he will try to serve himself without your help. In this way, his initiative is strengthened.

In a Montessori community classroom the Children are responsible for taking care of the environment. This responsibility fills them with joy and they feel happy to participate in their daily care. They fill the vases with flowers and place them on furniture, wash the chairs and tables, water and take care of the plants and so many other jobs. But sometimes when work is long we ask the Child what we can help him with. We don't do it with disrespect for his abilities but with respect for the effort of the Child who doesn't want to leave something unfinished and with an understanding of the fatigue we may perceive. For example, if the child is tired and needs to collect his work, we ask him "do you want me to collect the yellow triangles?" We show the Child our love and our understanding. We animate it and with it we complete the work.

This little phrase saves many a heated argument with the Children. In this way we remind the Child of the principles and the desired behaviors. The reminder of the principle helps the Child to cooperate since he is free from denial. For example "At the table we sit on the chair to eat" which does not hide any mood of exercising power instead of the command  "Sit".  If we have decided that we walk around the house instead of  "stop running",  try reminding "as a family we walk around the house. The Child needs to be reminded of the rules.

Protecting Children's concentration is a fundamental element of the Montessori philosophy. Montessori classrooms give Children as much time as they need to work and complete their work. It is usually three hours to allow the Children to develop deep concentration. Even after three hours many Children choose to continue to complete their work. There are times when the miracle of a Child's skill development excites us and we want to say a word of applause. However, the child's developmental need is so deep that he only needs respect and may unwittingly interrupt his completion. Hold your enthusiasm, resist the urge to hug him, and once it's over take the time for you and the Child to express your admiration for the great job he did so devotedly. After all, it is so natural for the Child when he has mastered concentration to work in an orderly manner and for his movements to be so refined.

The dictionary of the Montessori pedagogical method

In the Montessori pedagogical method, some terms are used to describe  concepts that define the development of the Child and the educational  tools of the method. 

From infancy to the age of six, the Child goes through a period of intense  intellectual development. We see this clearly when the Child easily  acquires the language and peculiarities of his environment and discovers  the world spontaneously or instinctively. Children at this age can  "absorb" any information from their environment, without much effort  and without critical thinking. This information has the power to shape the  Child's personality. 

Movement coordination is the ability to control the movement of the hand  as it arises after a command from the brain in relation to a visual  stimulus. The development of coordination of movement enables the  Child to carry out on his own what he has thought and do what is  necessary to complete an action. Through this conquest, his will and self confidence are strengthened. "I can do whatever I want on my own" 

It is the intelligent teaching material with specific characteristics designed  by Dr Maria Montessori, after continuous observation and research. New  information is offered to the Child through sensory stimuli so that it can  be understood. 

Freedom within limits offers the Child a safe framework in which he will  be able to explore what he needs for his personal development. At the  same time, however, he will learn to act without restriction, showing the  required respect for the dignity and boundaries of others as well as for the  environment itself. 

It is the Italian expression which means "Home of the Children". It was  the name of the first school that Dr Maria Montessori founded in 1907, in  the poor suburb of San Lorenzo, Rome. A characteristic element that  adorns all the schools she created is the work of the Italian painter  Raffaello Sanzio (1483-1520), which depicts Virgin Mary with the Infant  Child in her arms. 

Unlike most educational programs, in a Montessori community there are  children of different ages. Children can do activities individually or in  collaboration with other Children of different ages. 

This term refers to the four periods of human development until  adulthood. Each development stage builds on the previous one. The four  stages of development are:

  • From the age of the Child's birth to 6 years. It is divided into two stages. The first is 0-3 and is characterized by  intense and explosive conquests in human development. At this stage  the Child effortless absorbs all the information that helps him in his  development. This process relies on the help of the assimilative mind.
  • The second stage which is 3-6 is a stage where the Child now consciously  applies everything he has unconsciously mastered. At this stage the help  of the experienced educator can correct and return the Child to the  natural path of his development.From 6 to 12 years: It is called the  "children's stage". It is the stage when the Child enters a calm period,  the season of peace. The information he has acquired is now being  consolidated and applied.
  • From 12 to 18 years: It is called "adolescent  stage" or very often the English term "Earth kids". It is the stage when  the Child loves the earth, the soil and deals with the cultivation of  nature, rural life and takes his first steps away from the family. It is the  period when the teenager builds his relationship with others, his "social  ego". One could compare this stage with the first stage of Child  development as it is another explosive stage of physical and mental  development. A new "birth" and the Child is characterized by great  emotional sensitivity.
  • The fourth and final stage of development is the  maturity stage. "The age of joy" as Maria Montessori typically says. It is  the stage when knowledge stabilizes, man understands his individual  responsibility for a better world and wants to contribute to society as a  whole with his work. 

The term "Sensitive periods" or "developmental leaps", refers to a period  of time in which the Child's interests, driven by internal motivation, focus  on the development of a specific skill or a specific cognitive aspect. It is  like a spotlight that "casts" light on everything the Child needs at a given  time to acquire the information and skills he needs to complete his  smooth development. It is worth mentioning that the most important  period are the sensitive period for order, for small objects, for sensory  perception, for movement, for language. 

Activities that help the Child learn how to care for themselves, others  and the environment. 

The activities that help the Child to express himself with kindness,  responsibility and care towards others. The Child acquires social skills  and manners, which help him master his social behavior and the way he  communicates with others.

Montessori educators make sure to offer a prepared learning environment  with a specific structure and order that aims to respond in the best way to  the learning needs of the Children. It includes the selection of appropriate  furniture, the aesthetics of the space and the appropriate objects that will encourage independent functioning and group work. 

It is a series of activities and games that help the Child to develop and  refine his senses. The Child explores the world by seeing, smelling,  touching, hearing and tasting. These activities lay the foundation for  understanding abstractions and concepts. 

This is how the Child begins to be introduced to each new piece of  information. The simplest concept is given first so that they can "build"  on it and move on to the more complex one. The activity "Three period  lesson " is a great tool for the teacher, as the Child records each piece of information in a pleasant way. In the first stage, the name of the item or  concept is given. In the second stage, the teacher offers time to the Child  through the game to understand the new information. In the third stage,  the educator confirms whether the new information was understood by  the Child again through play. 

Most activities of the Montessori approach offer the opportunity to train  the Child for order. It is an innate tendency of the Child and its  development helps him to categorize and classify information, to build  his logical thinking. 

The educator introduces the Child to each new piece of information  starting with concrete-tangible concepts to build the foundation of  understanding the information and then moving on to more abstract ideas. For example, in the math unit, the Child is introduced to the decimal  system through the senses with concrete material such as gold beads and  then is introduced to abstract mathematical concepts. 

The Montessori material itself which is scientifically studied involves  error control. That is, when the child makes a mistake, the teacher does  not need to correct him. The material itself guides the Child and does  what is necessary to complete the task. This approach strengthens his  self-confidence, his self-discipline and his self-regulation. 

It is a term often encountered in the Montessori method. The Child is  introduced to "cosmic education" through activities related to the  universe, the galaxy and our Earth. In this way the Child understands the  world around him. 

It is a term that marks Children between the ages of 6 and 12. In the  Greek language it translates as "Child of the Earth". Children have the  same need to know how to cultivate the land and take care of the  environment, as much as they need writing, mathematics, science. 

Dr. Maria Montessori characterized the work of the Child as great  because when he chooses a job, he manifests at that very moment, his inner need to know and understand the world around him. It has a goal; to master what is needed for the development of their personality. 

Dr Maria Montessori noticed and realized the harmonious relationship  that exists between these two terms. It was a revolutionary concept since  at the time it was believed that these two concepts were opposite. In "The  Discovery of the Child" Dr Maria Montessori lays down some  foundations for freedom and discipline. 

  • Discipline is human, a basic instinct and a need of the human being  that develops naturally. 
  • Human personality cannot develop without individual freedom.
  • Freedom and discipline are interrelated concepts and cannot exist  separately.