Children are intuitive and attentive – you’ll often hear parents remark that children pick up on more than you give them credit for. This is biologically true, and Dr. Maria Montessori leveraged this truth in developing the Montessori Method.
In a traditional Montessori classroom, students do not attend lecture-style class blocks as students do in traditional American classrooms. Rather, they work with their peers and guides to explore classroom materials, learning lessons along the way.
This method of education leaves room for two indirect learning methods – indirect preparation and indirect presentation.
Indirect preparation assumes that a child’s curious mind will discover truths through exploration, and that these truths will lay a foundation for lessons they will learn in the future. You have likely used indirect preparation with your own children at home using popular toys. A child playing with blocks of varied shapes may combine them to make new shapes – learning, for example, that two identical triangles aligned on their longest side make a square or rectangle. While they’re not learning to recite geometric proofs while playing on the living room floor, this explorative action is laying the foundation for future learning in mathematics. In a Montessori classroom, many materials, especially in younger environments, serve as a means of indirect preparation for future lessons.
Indirect presentation assumes that the absorbent nature of a child’s mind makes every interaction an opportunity to learn. Simply put, children learn by watching parents, siblings, teachers, neighbors and beyond! They quite literally can apply lessons from any interaction or event they experience. In the Montessori classroom, this might look like a student watching an older classmate receiving instruction from a guide and applying the instruction to their own work. Indirect presentation is how many children learn speaking and behavioral patterns.
Indirect education is a natural part of a child’s development and is fostered meaningfully in Montessori environments. To learn more about the Montessori environments at Maria Montessori School, visit http://www.mariamontessorischool.org/environments/.