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Screen Time and Montessori: A Pedagogy that Discourages Screens

If you are trying to limit screen time for your child, it’s likely you are running in some of the same groups as Montessori parents. You see, screen time and Montessori do not go hand in hand, at least for the for the first several years of life.

Why is this, though? Is the Montessori crowd hip to information to which others are not privy?

Let’s look into this.

What is Montessori?

Montessori is an educational philosophy based out of Italy. Maria Montessori (August 31, 1870 – May 6, 1952) , its founder, was the very first female physician in Italy and she blazed trails in early childhood education, as well.

She believed that children prefered real life experiences over toys or unstructured fantasy play. She opened a school in Rome and observed the children in her care very carefully.

From her observations, she developed learning materials and a method of teaching, called the Montessori Method.

screen time and montessori header image. small movable alphabet.

What is the Montessori take on screen time?

It can come as a surprise to people that there are methods of education and parenting that exclude screen time for a certain age. In this day in age, no screen time till the age of 6 years old seems extreme to many.

The Montessori community gives a solid reasoning for this, though.

They say it is because young children are in the stage of brain development wherein they really need to being using their hands to actively engage with their surroundings. This is contrast to learning via screens, by way of rote memorization.

Montessori also discourages the introduction of fantasy before children are at the age wherein they are capable of understanding the difference between reality and fantasy. While not all screen time is fantasy-based, time spent in front of screens is time not spent engaged in hand-on learning.

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