About Maria Montessori
Dr. Maria Montessori, the founder of the Montessori Method of education, was born in Italy in 1870. Upon graduating from medical school in 1896, she became the first woman to qualify as a doctor in Italy. As a physician, Maria Montessori had an opportunity to work with children and to observe them under a variety of circumstances. She used scientific methods to observe and analyze how children learn and was amazed to see their effortless ability to absorb knowledge from their environment, as well as their sustained interest in manipulating developmental materials. She discovered that their learning capabilities are specific to their developmental stage of life.
Over time, she formalized her study of children and designed tools to help children learn. Dr. Maria Montessori traveled widely for the rest of her life writing, teaching, and lecturing around the world. She was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize, and she lived to see herself and her theories acclaimed throughout the world. She died in 1952 leaving a legacy that continues to grow as more of her ideas are implemented in classrooms worldwide. Today, Montessori schools are found all around the world and Maria Montessori’s work continues to grow, serving the needs of children.
Montessori’s approach is based on the principle that education should be an aid to life. It is a holistic approach that aims to develop the whole child. The fundamental to this approach is the belief that from birth to six years, a child has the greatest capacity to learn and has an immense capacity to absorb information when given the freedom and independence to learn at their own pace. This results in a non-competitive environment, and it gives the child a unique opportunity to fulfill the child’s potential.
Children of mixed age groups and different abilities work side by side in the same environment, and it helps in inculcating feelings of friendship, and respect for the rights of others, and allows the child to witness their growth in a very concrete way. Specially trained teachers carefully monitor each child’s development, recognizing and interpreting every child’s needs. Montessori emphasizes that all children need to grow up as confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body, and spirit.
The typical Montessori classroom is a carefully prepared environment with precise materials that educate and refine a child’s senses. There is nothing in a Montessori classroom that is put there by accident. Every material has a purpose, and the activities aid the child to develop their sensory, numeric, language, and practical skills. The well-organized, attractive materials in the classroom awaken the child’s desire to learn and channel this curiosity into a joyful learning experience. Children are free to choose the materials and work individually or in small groups, which encourages social interaction, cooperative learning, peer teaching, and emotional development. For children to make sense of the world, they need to experience with their senses touch, move, manipulate, smell, taste, and construct, our Montessori classroom allows them to explore and fulfill these natural desires in a child.
Our Montessori teachers prepare the environment with suitable age-appropriate activities and demonstrate the correct use of materials to the children, incorporating teaching strategies that support and facilitate the total growth of each child. Our teachers are specifically trained to observe and respond to the needs of each child and to direct the whole group. Documenting a child’s work is an ongoing process in a Montessori classroom, where the teacher tries to collect information about the child through her observations, and the child’s achievements, strengths, and weaknesses are carefully assessed and directed toward results.