Meghan Sanchez – Me and the Montessori Method

Before coming to Rome, I knew I wanted to take part in an internship. At the time, I was focused on finding a job working with a travel and food agency. But once I arrived in Rome and saw the presentation for internships and social action internships led by Simona, the internship teaching at a Montessori school caught my attention. I talked with her and decided that this internship may be a better fit for what I want to do in the future. I have recently taken a strong interest in education. I have not taken any college classes in this field, but I definitely intend to next semester. I have now decided that I want to attend graduate college for education and later try to get a job teaching students in America how to speak Italian. My short-term goal also includes applying for an internship in Washington D.C. this summer, working with a non-profit group, AmeriCorps. With them, I will be able to work with elementary students that come from low-income families. These children may not have received the education required to start elementary school. With this program, I will work with them for 10 weeks, getting them to the level required so they can start in the fall with the confidence and education for elementary school.

My internship at the Montessori school, Il GiardinoMagico, has been great for preparing me for my future endeavors.  Also having the chance to see first-hand the Montessori Method being applied to several two and three year -olds has been eye opening for me. The first few weeks were dedicated to me watching the teachers and children. A large part of Maria Montessori’s Method is observing the children. The less interference from the teacher, the better it is for the children to learn by making their own mistakes and figuring out how things work on their own.

Use of the senses is a key part of the Method. Children physically interacting with objects are integral for them to learn. It is not enough that they interact with objects around them, but they should also learn on their own and figure out for themselves how to use the objects. The teachers are there to provide the students with the materials, but it is the children that learn how to manipulate and use the objects. The objects that they play with are all educational and are child-sized. This allows the children to touch and manipulate objects that they are capable of using.

This concept of watching and not correcting the children was difficult for me. In the past, I worked in a nursery at my church in Louisiana. There, anytime a child misbehaved or fought with another child, I or another teacher was quick to correct the child. We would also tell the children what to do and how and to do it. It has been hard for me to sit and watch the children act up and not be quick to say anything and to not give a helping hand. But I know that this is a key part of the Method and I see how constructive it is.

There are three maestre in the class that I attend every Wednesday from 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM and every Friday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. The children that I observe and interact with are two and three years old. I plan on singing the children songs in English as well as give them the English translation of objects that they know in Italian. Although the children were quiet with me at first, after eight days of observing them, they often come and talk to me and interact with me. I can’t wait to see how my relationship with them progresses throughout my time at the Montessori school.