"The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to age of six."
What is Montessori Education?
It began in the early 1900's when a lady named Dr. Maria Montessori used her scientific observations of young children and their behavior to develop a method of education. She opened "A Children's House" in 1906 for the children of desperately poor families in the San Lorenzo slums of Rome. Dr. Montessori's dynamic theories included such revolutionary premises as:
-Children are to be respected as different from adults and as individuals who are different from one another.
- Children create themselves through purposeful activity.
-The most important years for learning are from birth to age six.
What makes Montessori Education unique?
1. The "whole child" approach: The primary goal of a Montessori program is to help each child reach full potential in ALL areas of development.
2. The "prepared environment": In order for self-directed learning to take place, the environment must be supportive. This enables the child to try new things and builds self-confidence.
3. The Montessori materials: The materials are multi-sensory, sequential and self-correcting.
4. The teacher: The Montessori teacher functions as a facilitator of learning. She is a role model, demonstrator, record-keeper and observer. She respects and loves each child as a unique individual.
What does Montessori Education look like?
-The classroom works with the principle of freedom within limits. It is based on the core Montessori beliefs of respect for each other and the environment.
-Children are free to work at their own pace. The teacher relies on her observations of the child to determine which new materials to introduce. Children work for the joy of working and the sense of discovery. Children are "sponges". Their interest lies in the work itself rather that the end product.
-The three-year-age span provides a family-like grouping where learning can take place naturally. More experienced children share what they know while reinforcing their own learning.
Goals of Montessori Education
-Developing a positive attitude toward school and learning.
-Helping each child develop self-confidence through a carefully planned series of successes.
-Assisting each child in building a habit of concentration through a sweies of absorbing experiences.
-Fostering an abiding curiosity for creative learning.
-Developing habits of initiative and perisitence by surrounding the child with appealing materials and learning activities.
-Fostering inner security and a sense of order in the child through a well-ordered and enriched environment.