Montessori and Waldorf education continue to be two of the most prominent alternative ECD (Early Childhood Education) styles in the United States and across the world. Each of these systems has a long history of promoting children’s educational independence worldwide, and each has its own unique set of characteristics. The drive of this research paper is to assist early childhood educators and academics in understanding the theoretical and philosophical frameworks, historical evolution, and advantages of various early childhood models of education. As ECD advances in tandem with technological advancements and new conceptions, it is critical to understand the alternatives to conventional educational approaches fully.
Summary of The Historical, Philosophical, and Theoretical Influences That Contributed to Each Approach
Dr. Maria Montessori developed the Montessori educational paradigm during the early 1900s in Rome, Italy (Mavric, 2020). After developing a program for dealing with impaired children in 1907, she founded the (Casa dei Bambini) children’s home for kids aged 4years to 7 years who lived in a housing project in one of the city’s worst slums. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1937. For a brief period, the Montessori educational method was prevalent in Italy, and then its prominence spread throughout India and Europe due to its teaching strategy.
Her ideas looked too radical for the educational system to accept when presented in the U.S in the 1950s. One of the main ideas behind this strategy is that students may guide their own studying experience at their own pace. It was Dr. Montessori’s educational goal to help the child grow and assist them in adapting to the physical circumstances of their surroundings. In addition, social needs required by the community’s customs in which she lived were the focus of her educational philosophy.
Montessori’s beliefs on child development are historically robust and highly different, and they are often used as a paradigm to inspire other educational philosophies, such as behaviorism (Mavric, 2020). Like John Dewey’s constructivist theory, the Montessori approach pairs a growing kid, notably participating in building their personal experience, with an educator establishing a conducive child-centered setting. Piaget’s theory of development and Montessori’s concept in developmental phases are similar. Both are concerned with a kid’s natural concentration in the learning process; nevertheless, their main distinction is specific stages and cycles. The model also mirrors Abraham Maslow’s psychology, emphasizing the necessity of addressing the progressive requirements of complete child development via hands-on participation in natural learning environments.
Objectives and Curriculum
The goals of the Montessori model lay a strong focus on the development of the complete child and learning assistance provided by an instructor, who provides direction for children’s growth. Its childhood curriculum is centered primarily on teaching specialized materials to young children. In this case, children explore customized study with the help of a wide variety of didactic resources that are hands-on practical, have movement, and are vibrant in design and color. Learning materials instruct via hands-on activities, which help children learn arithmetic, size, color, and writing and reading abilities.
Rudolf Steiner established the Waldorf educational system in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1919 to aid the needs of children (Goldshmidt, 2017). In Stuttgart, workers in Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette Factory worked with Rudolf to establish a seminary for their kids. The institute was founded on the principle that children would grow better if they could explore their natural environment. Steiner’s intentions for developing this model centered on technology’s demeaning impact on culture (Goldshmidt, 2017). Steiner envisioned an innovative educational movement that would enable students from various cultures to develop the skills needed to adapt to the challenges and expectations of a post-industrial society.
The seminary was established as a broad learning institution, serving young students through high school students. Steiner’s notion of “anthroposophy” defined this model since it had a unified emphasis on the spiritual nature of children and the science of humankind, which was a fundamental aspect (Goldshmidt, 2017). In a world that is becoming more automated, this technique, which was initially popular exclusively in Western Europe, gives today’s pupils the chance to achieve their full potential.
Objectives and Curriculum
Waldorf education lays a strong emphasis on the child’s independence and development as a whole. As an artistic guide for the kids, instructors play an essential part in the learning process. Evaluating the child’s development serves as the basis for the Waldorf curriculum in all of its forms. In most cases, children are shown in the curriculum as progressing individuals in their beauty knowledge. Each academic phase includes a wide range of transdisciplinary learning activities and diversified expertise.
There are significant distinctions and similarities between these two ECD methods. These programs provide non-traditional educational choices for instructors and are effective alternative early childhood development. Each of these models was founded on the leadership of a single individual, and both paradigms have stayed important throughout history. Even while writing and reading are heavily stressed in the Montessori curriculum, they are not expressly focused in Waldorf schools for early childhood (Aljabreen, 2020). For the sake of describing the children’s educational activities, both Waldorf and Montessori paradigms use the term “work.” Montessori and Waldorf are two programs that provide education sustained through elementary school and into high school. Montessori schools strongly focus on the arts, while Waldorf schools focus on academics. Montessori schools do not include invented play and fantasies in their learning development emphasis. Still, Waldorf programs are virtually the polar opposite, having episodes of spectacular creative space.
In all of these ways, assessments are modern and grounded on descriptive narratives, portfolios, and records of instructor notes. There is a place for children with exceptional needs in each scenario (Aljabreen, 2020). Both approaches advocate using natural and developed learning resources above other learning resources. Montessori is unusual because it employs materials first intended more than a century ago. The two methodologies include either minimal or no technology in the classroom. As a general rule, Waldorf schools employ one lead teacher as the primary lesson instructor; chosen by the leadership council. In contrast, Montessori classrooms do not define the number of required teachers. The extent of teacher interaction with pupils varies depending on the strategy: Montessori instructors serve as observers, while Waldorf teachers are very involved in storytelling and drama but refrain from intervening during creative activities.
Reflection on Montessori Model
From the above assessment, I have identified and analyzed specific significant characteristics of the Montessori paradigm in the success of ECD. Typically, certain aspects of this program may still be helpful. In addition, some system components may be effectively implemented into learning institutions that do not either choose the Montessori model or subscribe to all of its ideas. The ability to pinpoint more exactly what, if anything, about the Montessori approach is beneficial would allow for more in-depth knowledge of why it is effective.
First, the learning materials used in Montessori’s educational technique and the self-directed nature of children’s interaction with those resources are two of the most significant features of the system. The practical life module comprises original learning resources that a child is likely to meet in a Montessori classroom. This category includes tasks such as; utilizing equipment including tongs, tweezers, and scissors, preparing snacks, preparing snacks, and cleaning and polishing. In addition, although the learning resources are essential, they do not encompass the Montessori model because they must be engrossed in a specific way. Through the integration of Montessori in school, I have discovered that young children could maintain concentration on activities that pique their interest for extended periods.
Aljabreen, H. (2020). Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emilia: A Comparative Analysis of Alternative Models of Early Childhood Education. International Journal Of Early Childhood, 52(3), 337-353. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13158-020-00277-1
Goldshmidt, G. (2017). Waldorf Education as Spiritual Education. Religion & Education, 44(3), 346-363. https://doi.org/10.1080/15507394.2017.1294400
Mavric, M. (2020). The Montessori Approach as a Model of Personalized Instruction. Journal Of Montessori Research, 6(2). https://doi.org/10.17161/jomr.v6i2.13882