As technology increases in the world around us, educators grapple with the decision of if and how they should utilize technological options in their classroom setting. Since the Montessori Method was developed in the early twentieth century, educators in this field have debated this topic for decades as technology has permeated our world. In our modern times, you may wonder in what ways technology is integrated into a Montessori classroom.
Because there are thousands of Montessori schools around the world, many have adapted different ideas about the integration of technology in the classroom. Generally speaking, however, the Montessori Method is rooted in two things
Hands-on learning with real objects
Each object in a Montessori classroom has a purpose and intention
The use of technology should be no different. If a teacher chooses to introduce a piece of technology into the classroom, it should have a direct purpose to enrich the learning experience for the class and should not take the place of a lesson the child can accomplish with hands-on learning.
Technology Integration by Ages
Technology is most restrictive in the youngest Montessori classrooms. Much research has shown that small children should be very limited in their exposure to screens and other forms of technology. In an infant or toddler classroom, a teacher may utilize speakers for music, but devices with screens would rarely or never be introduced. Instead, the children would have works that speak to their physical and social development. At this stage, children are refining the gross and fine motor skills and find great satisfaction in lessons that focus on these activities. The teacher may have instruments available where the children can create their own music in the classroom through movement of their hands. These lessons are valued more highly than forms of technology for this age group.
In a primary classroom with children ages 3 to 6, the occasional use of technology to supplement learning may be used. The works on the shelves, however, would be made of natural materials and only have sounds that are made by the children. The use of technology would be minimal to supplement learning and would never replace the physical work a child can do.
As a child gets older, the use of technology in the classroom may increase to prepare the child for more advanced tasks. The children will likely learn skills to type, perform advanced math functions or create presentations. Carefully selected videos may be shown to the children to enrich their learning experience. These things would likely only be introduced, however, after the child has spent a great deal of time working with tactile materials and the fundamental lessons.
The debate continues on how much technology is appropriate for young children. The Montessori world tends to encourage working with the hands and creative open-ended activities to using screens or devices in the classroom. However, in our current world, technology is everywhere. Preparing our children for a world with technology is important to their future success. The Montessori Method approaches this topic with great consideration and intention. To find out more about the Montessori Method, contact Fountainhead Montessori.