The Montessori Tides prepared environment is equipped with special didactic materials that are, according to Dr. Maria Montessori, “keys to the world,” because she carefully designed them to make the world accessible to the child. They also aid the child’s psychic development toward functional independence. She found children who are “functionally independent” are happy, well-adjusted children that can think for themselves, do for themselves, and are disciplined enough to understand the consequences of their actions.
Dr. Montessori developed the Montessori Materials over 100 years ago. In 1907, in the first Montessori Children’s House, she began experimenting on the effective use of the materials by allowing the children to freely explore with them while she observed how they responded to them. Because their use had proven to be so successful, today Montessori Tides authentic school still uses these materials to implement the Montessori curriculum.
The initial use of the materials by very young children eventually developed into a system that now serves children in our classrooms from 16months – 12years. Though the materials vary in some degree throughout each stage of development, they all possess certain qualities that are unique to all Montessori materials, regardless of age.
- Control and Error: This is the “self-correcting” quality of the materials.
- Simple to Complex: The materials progress from simple to complex.
- Concrete to abstract: The child is always given the opportunity to work with the concrete materials before he/she is presented the abstract concept.
- Indirect Preparation for Future Learning: Every piece of equipment indirectly prepares the child for future learning
- Treatment of materials: “How, Where, When”… Every child learns important lessons with the materials like, respecting others need not to disturb when working with materials, learning how to wait for a turn with the materials, putting materials back for someone else to use, and always respectfully caring for materials which belong to their community—all which teach great lessons for life