The teacher is the third and final vital link to complete the triangle between the child and its environment. Montessori teachers seek to guide rather than control. They are not there to impart knowledge or stuff the child with data, but to provide opportunities for learning and to present the best possible environment to achieve this.
The range of learning and experience found within a Montessori setting is broader than the state prescribed curriculum. Focus is on the 6 core areas of learning: Practical Life; Sensorial; Mathematics; Cultural and Creative Activity. Learning is invited rather than imposed; encouraged rather than enforced.
Equally, the emphasis is on giving the child the chance to progress at their own speed, rather than driving towards rapid advance, early achievement or any other fixed and premeditated goals. Freed from tests, benchmarks and competitive pressures children tend to excel, driven by their own thirst for knowledge.
Self discipline is an important teaching within the approach to learning. Children enjoy enormous freedom to choose within the limits of the prepared environment. Poor or disruptive behaviour is discouraged through the reinforcement of positive behaviour and respect for the space, work and concentration of other children in the classroom.
Montessori Teachers are skilled interpreters of child behaviour constantly refining their observational skills and teaching strategies as well as developing their understanding of how children develop and learn because each child is ultimately unique. Montessori teachers distinguish themselves by forming a close partnership with the family of the child. Montessori herself recognised that both the nursery and the home have to share the values of ‘following the child.’ Montessori teachers are committed to continuous learning, as teaching is also a process of learning.
‘The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say that the children are working as if I did not exist.’