What is the Montessori Method?
The Montessori Method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. Dr. Montessori’s method has been time tested, with over 100 years of success in diverse cultures throughout the world. It is a view of the child as one who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive. The Montessori environment contains specially designed, manipulative materials that invite children to engage in learning activities of their own individual choice. Under the guidance of a trained Montessori preschool teacher, children in a Montessori preschool classroom learn by making discoveries with the materials, cultivating concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning.
Maria Montessori Methods
Dr. Maria Montessori gave the world a scientific method, practical and tested, for bringing forth the very best in young human beings. She taught children how to respect individual differences, and to emphasize social interaction and the education of the whole personality rather than the teaching of a specific body of knowledge.
The Montessori curriculum is always up-to-date and dynamic because observation and the meeting of needs is continual and specific for each child. When physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional needs are met, children glow with excitement and a drive to play, work, learn, and create with enthusiasm. They exhibit a desire to teach, help, and care for others and for their environment.
The high level of academic achievement so common in Montessori schools is a natural outcome of experience in such a supportive environment. The Montessori method of education is a model that serves the needs of children of all levels of mental and physical ability as they live and learn in a natural, mixed-age group, which is very much like the society they will live in as adults.
The full potential of the child, but is revealed only when the complete “Montessori Method” is understood and followed. The child’s choice, practical work, care of others and the environment, and above all the high levels of concentration reached when work is respected and not interrupted, reveal a human being that is superior not only academically, but emotionally and spiritually. The essence of the real Montessori Method seeks to inspire a child to care deeply about other people and the world, and work to discover a unique and individual way to contribute.
Who is Maria Montessori, M.D.?
Maria Montessori, born in 1870, was the first woman in Italy to receive a medical degree. She worked in the fields of psychiatry, education and anthropology, and believed that each child is born with a unique potential to be revealed, rather than as a “blank slate” waiting to be written upon. Her main contributions to the work of those of us raising and educating children are:
- Preparing the most natural and life supporting environment for the child
- Observing the child living freely in this environment
- Continually adapting the environment in order that the child may fulfill his greatest potential — physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.