The primary goal of the Montessori classroom is to provide a high quality pre-primary education in Battambang using the Montessori method.
A second goal of our Association is to create a Montessori school of reference in Battambang Cambodia that will inspire local schools and child centers in Cambodia to integrate Montessori best practices, through relevant training.
The Montessori classroom
The Montessori curriculum includes 5 focus areas: practical life, sensorial life, language, mathematics and culture. Art activities are also included such as: arts and crafts, music, yoga and dance. The teacher in the Montessori classroom is a ‟guide‟. The role of the teacher is to observe and support each child‟s unique interests and development.
The teacher presents new activities to children individually (one-to-one) and/or to small groups of children when they are developmentally ready to acquire new skills and knowledge.
The Montessori classroom is a “prepared environment”, meaning the education environment is tailored to the specific learning characteristics of children. The function of the environment is to allow the child to develop independence and autonomy in all areas of the classroom according to his or her inner psychological directives. The classroom includes distinct skill based activities in each practice area.
All materials in the classroom are specialized and specific educational materials developed by Maria Montessori and her collaborators.
In addition to offering access to the Montessori materials appropriate to the age of the children, the environment is arranged in a way that facilitates children‟s movement and activity;
- Is aesthetically beautiful, harmonious, and clean;
- Is arranged/constructed in proportion to the child‟s physical size and needs;
- Has a limitation of materials, so that only material that supports the child’s development is included;
- Is ordered.
Each child has freedom of movement in the classroom; children choose an activity from within a prescribed range of options. They work at their own pace within the prepared classroom environment. The Montessori teacher supports each child‟s progress and presents new learning challenges to each child/group of children when they are ready.
The learning process in a Montessori classroom follows a “constructivist” or discovery model; where children learns concepts from working concretely with material, rather than solely learning through oral instruction from the teacher. The learning progresses logically from the concrete to the abstract. For example, in language, the child is introduced to letters through touch and sound. He/she will see and „‟feel‟‟ the letter A by saying the sound and touching the letter (concrete). After the child can recognize the form of the letter and remember the sound, he/she will refer to the letter without visual or auditory cues (abstract).
The Montessori classroom groups students vertically meaning it is a mixed aged classroom. Children 3 to 6 year olds make up the classroom community. In the mixed aged classroom younger students learn from older students and the oldest students are leaders and helpers in the classroom. This vertical grouping creates a powerful and cohesive learning environment.
Students thrive in the Montessori environment because they feel emotionally and mentally at ease and are given freedom and support to learn. They take great satisfaction in the skills they acquire and in the social environment created by the classroom community.