Montessori Alliance

Integrating the Montessori Pedagogical Approach within the Aistear Curriculum Framework

Posted by Administrator on January 29, 2018

We were asked to contribute the following article to Ireland’s Year book of Education (2017).

The Montessori pedagogical approach is over a hundred years old.  In many parts of the world it provides a structured learning methodology not only to children at pre-school but to those in primary and secondary level.  In Ireland Montessori and pre-school are considered one and the same.  Indeed when Montessori is mentioned in an educational context it is taken for granted to mean pre-school.  Despite being part of the Irish education system both at pre-school and primary level since 1920, Montessori is most widely recognised as a pedagogical approach for young children, those under 6 years of age.  Nevertheless Montessori schools for children up to 12 years of age exist in Ireland.  They are few and far between, but they are there.

It is necessary to acknowledge the place Montessori has in the continuum of education in order to appreciate that Montessori is not a pedagogy which stops when the child turns 6.  It is in fact a method of building knowledge and awareness of the world around us within children whilst appreciating individual learning styles.

Montessori observed children; appreciated where their passions and interests lay; planned and constructed learning opportunities to exploit these interests; observed the children interacting with the ‘learning opportunities’; altered the ‘learning opportunities’ as a direct result of these observations; reintroduced the ‘learning opportunities’ to the classroom. This whole cycle of plan-do-review, which is a common practice in many pedagogies, continues much in the same way today.

The holistic development of the child is the central tenet of the Montessori Approach and also of the Aistear Curriculum Framework.  The child is considered an active agent in his/her own learning. By connected with those around him/her in an interdependent and intradependent way he/she develops the skills necessary for life.  Montessori acknowledged the importance of the learning environment and its ability to impact on the child’s development.  She included everything the child came into contact with under the umbrella of ‘environment’ in much the same way as Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory links the child to society and society to the child.

The full article can be found here


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