The Montessori Philosophy
Fostering independent, self-motivated and goal-oriented children.
Who Was Maria Montessori?
Born in Ancona, Italy, in 1870, Maria Montessori was the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome Medical School. Upon graduation, she specialized in treating children. Over time she began to teach, preparing materials, taking notes and reflecting on her observations and work. In 1907 she opened “A Children’s House”, a childcare centre in the San Lorenzo slums of Rome. Montessori based this program on her observations that children learn best in an environment filled with developmentally appropriate materials that provide experiences that contribute to the growth of self-motivated, independent learners. She believed that “a child’s work is to create the person he/she will become.” This is achieved through purposeful movement, exploration and discovery of their environment.
The Montessori Method
A Montessori education fosters independent, self-motivated and goal-directed children with a life-long love of learning. This approach is predicated on a belief that the best learning will occur in an environment supportive of an individual’s unique development. It is a scientific method which emphasizes social interaction and the education of the whole personality rather than the teaching of a specific body of knowledge Thus, education is not a tool used to develop basic intellectual skills; it is a preparation for life.
The Montessori Method respects the innate drive and natural Human Tendencies in each child that guide them instinctively to take hold of what they need most to learn at that given moment. Each child is given the freedom to choose activities that correspond to his or her natural curiosity and Sensitive Periods of inner growth. Dr. Montessori discovered what she called Sensitive Periods, specific moments in a child’s development where an area of learning or development is ‘highlighted’ and a child learns with greater enthusiasm and thoroughness. Montessori teachers are trained to identify when children enter into these Sensitive Periods for learning and then connect them with the appropriate Montessori Materials or lessons. This important aspect of the Montessori Method cannot be overstated- Teachers are trained to introduce the ‘exact’ learning tool that the child needs, at the ‘exact’ time in the child’s development that they can utilize it in an almost effortless way to further their development.
The goal of Montessori education is to aid children with their task of inner construction as they grow from childhood to maturity. The Montessori Method withstands the test of time and is successful in its mission across countries, cultures and religious boundaries because, the principles upon which the method is based extend from the natural development of the child.
Each child is born with a sense of wonder, fascinated by and eager to experience everything about the world. They work diligently to seek out answers to questions that they find meaningful, then take delight in their personal discoveries. They will not, however, exert much effort on tasks that are dictated by others. Dr. Maria Montessori recognized this, and built upon it in developing her method.
Maria Montessori saw children as individuals-each with a unique personality, potential and contribution-worthy of respect. So, in contrast to traditional approaches where conformity by the child was paramount to success, she sought to teach the children how to learn, how to think, and how to do-both by themselves and for themselves-so that they could define and achieve their own successes.
Teachers are specially trained to observe the children’s interests and to direct them toward lessons that meet their individual stages of development. At every stage of learning, the teaching material is designed to test understanding and correct errors. Early work on time management, concentration, task completion, and thoroughness established in early years produce a competent learner in later years.
The Montessori approach to education fosters independent, self-reliant, and responsible children who learn to respect themselves, others, and their environment because they themselves are respected. They learn to appreciate differences and practice acceptance of others because they are each treated as special individuals.
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See first-hand how the Montessori Method encourages independent and collaborative activity at each level of our program.
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Is Montessori right for your child?
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