We live in a world overrun by technology and our kids are growing up in an era when technology is at the forefront of almost everything they do. While it’s clear that we will not be returning to the days of Leave it to Beaver, we have to be careful not to embrace technology to the point of excluding other modes of fun, communication, and learning.
The Montessori classroom does a fantastic job of keeping the focus on learning through hands-on manipulation and through doing, versus studying from a screen. Montessori materials are designed to bring out critical thinking skills that develop patience, multi-step processing, creativity, and problem-solving. When students learn math, they don’t do so through computer games that provide an array of answers and make jubilant sounds when the correct answer is chosen. Instead, students select the material that catches their eye and are guided through a process of learning that leads to self-discovery and long term understanding of math concepts.
Likewise, in language arts, they form letters in the sand and learn to trace on sandpaper letters. This tactile approach is a proven method for memory, much more so than typing or reacting to a computer screen. And it should come as no surprise that science comes alive through manipulation of materials, witnessing real-life changes in structure, studying animals and plants up close and personal, and planting and tending to a garden.
According to the National Academy of Pediatrics, the average American child spends 7 hours a day in front of a screen of some sort, whether it be a TV, computer, or phone. The recommended amount of time is one hour per day. Yet parents still question if Montessori schools shouldn’t use technology more in the classroom.
The answer is that many Montessori schools have found a beautiful balance that welcomes technology while making sure kids have plenty of time on the floor, being active and engaged. For instance, students can use computers to create documents, learn how to submit papers on popular share drives such as Google Docs, and discover how to use email to communicate. But for every hour spent on these pursuits, the students spend 5 being physical and social. The belief is that in these realms, real learning takes place. And it’s a given that once they’ve left the Montessori environment, students will have plenty of time to use technology at home.
The key is a balance. Montessori Kids Universe offers that much sought after healthy balance where students can discover the joy of learning while also discovering the wonderful world of socializing with friends, following good examples set by adults, and getting physical exercise for good overall health.