What is Montessori?
A Montessori education is a child-centered approach to teaching. Developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, the Montessori method promotes independence, social responsibility, and a love for learning. Children engage in learning through individual or small group instruction, self-directed work choices, and a prepared environment with wonderful materials and resources for exploration. Classrooms are multi-aged, and lead by a Directress or Director.
More than an approach to education, Montessori is an approach to life. It embraces the role of education in the development of peace, and the attainment of individual expression within a democratic society.
Dr. Maria Montessori lived from 1870 to 1952. Her lifetime accomplishments include being the first female doctor in Italy, a world famous author, educator and spokesperson for human rights.
As a result of her work, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. Montessori used her talents to observe children’s development and thereby provide them with learning opportunities appropriate to their readiness and needs. Her acute observations of children led to the evolution of her philosophy of natural child development and the designing of materials to promote learning.
Her belief was that no human is educated by another person. In order to be genuine, learning must be done internally by each individual. A truly educated person continues learning long after the classroom experience has ended because there is motivation from within that is fueled by a natural curiosity and a love of learning.
Dr. Montessori felt that the goal of early education should not be to inundate children with facts from a direct course of study. Instead, an objective of the education process is to cultivate the child’s own natural desire to learn.