The Montessori Minute: Individual and Small Group Lessons

Have you ever wondered why a Montessori teacher is invariably seen off to the side of the classroom presenting to an individual or small group? Why doesn’t she just stand in the middle and give lessons to the whole class?

While large group instruction may be expedient, it is not effective. The larger the group, the wider the range of abilities, interests, and attention levels in play. In Montessori, lessons are targeted to the needs and skill levels of individuals. This ensures that learning is being presented at one’s instructional level as opposed to a frustration level, or conversely, at an independent level (too easy to need instruction). The practice was validated by other educators, such as Lev Vygotsky’s “Zone of Proximal Development,” and is gradually beginning to move into mainstream education. At Mata, children perceive that a lesson prepared especially for them is more personal and thus invites their engagement.