Orgins and History
The approach grew out of work that Dr. Maria Montessori did with 60 children in a deprived part of Rome, in 1907. She was at that time a qualified physician, renowned advocate for woman’s rights, and a professor of anthropology at the University. Clearly a ‘high-flyer’. Yet she was so amazed by what she saw the children reveal, that she gave up much of her other work, including her chair at the University, to focus on working with little children.
Montessori’s training as a physician brought a uniquely scientific approach to her work with children. She observed children in her medical practice, and studied their physical and mental growth. Her central conclusion was this: children teach themselves. They build their minds by interacting with the environment. Science agrees with her today.
Over the next five decades Dr Montessori, together with her son and collaborator Mario, articulated a comprehensive approach to education from birth to maturity. The approach centered around her discovery that children teach themselves if they are offered freedom within an environment specially prepared to meet their developmental needs.
What is Montessori?
Montessori is an approach to education based on the observation of children’s psychological needs as they grow from conception to adulthood.
Over one hundred years ago, Dr. Maria Montessori discovered that children are born with a profound desire to interact with their environment in an intelligent way. She found that children flourished when they were left free to direct their own learning, within a prepared environment.
Montessori environments contain specially designed manipulative materials that invite the child to engage in hands-on learning activities of their own individual choice. Under the guidance of a trained teacher, children in Montessori classrooms learn by doing rather than by being told and through the joy of their own discovery rather than through adult instruction.
The result? Children develop concentration, confidence, self-discipline and a love of learning. And as one might expect, studies show these children also do better academically.
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