When Maria Montessori thought up her philosophy on learning, modern technology was a long while away; this means that there are no specific guidelines for the management of screen-time in the Montessori classroom.
Montessori methodology gives children the freedom to learn at their own pace with the assistance of specially developed materials in a prepared environment. It’s an organic process that seems to struggle with the inclusion of technology, and teachers and parents have mixed views on the subject.
One Montessori principal writes:
“The purpose of Practical Life in a Montessori school is not only to teach concentration, increase small motor skills, expose students to new interests and opportunities, but also to prepare the child for real world experiences. As an educator in the 21st century, I feel like it is my responsibility to prepare children for what they will encounter in the real world and whether I like it or not, the real world functions on technology.”
Using technology as a supplement rather than a substitute (for books and relationship) seems to be the way that many Montessori schools are tackling the challenge of technology in the classroom. As with many things in life, balance is key – the same applies to the use of computers in the Montessori classroom.
Learning how to type, save documents, send documents and use search engines responsibly does not make reading, writing and maths, on a visceral level, redundant. Not at all!
At St Andrew’s Montessori, we understand and empathise with both sides of the ‘technology in Montessori’ debate, which is why we offer computers as an optional extra-curricular. In an effort to ensure that no child feels excluded, we have an ‘open door’ policy, which means that children not participating in a computer lesson are free to have a look in at the activities as they are in progress.
Please feel free to contact the school if you’d like to discuss this subject further, or would like to find out more about the computer lessons on offer. Computers at St. Andrew’s Montessori is taught by Bruce Harrison from Technokids.
Source: Montessorirocks.org – “A True Balancing Act: Technology and the Montessori Classroom”