Montessori Method

The Montessori Method

The Montessori Method of Education is a scientifically-based and world-recognized educational approach that develops the whole child and enables children to achieve their full potential: Physically, socially, emotionally and academically. Montessori education is individualized and adapts to the needs and readiness of each child, resulting in a peaceful and rewarding experience that ultimately elicits love for learning. Through multi-aged classrooms, the child develops a strong sense of responsibility, respect and leadership towards his/her environment. In turn, Montessori children grow into happy, self-motivated beings, whose self-confidence and mastery of the concepts develops into personal and academic excellence.

Montessori understands that the child learns best, naturally and effortlessly through sensorial exploration (e.g. how does the letter sound), as opposed to traditional instruction methods (e.g. what is the letter name). In order to facilitate sensorial learning, Montessori classrooms use specialized materials that guide children from concrete basics into progressively abstract concepts. From a child’s perspective, these materials constitute “games”, “puzzles” and implementation of daily practical skills that unveil significant learning through the child’s manipulation.

Montessori also groups children in multi-aged classrooms which nurture leadership and foster significant cross-learning: Toddlers (up to 3 years of age), Primary (3 to 6 years, including Kindergarten) and Lower and Upper Elementary.

In the Montessori classroom, the child has “freedom with limits”: The ability to choose a specific lesson, but only after the teacher has adequately introduced it, in accordance with the child’s readiness. After this introduction and within the established limits that the guide imparts, the child is free to manipulate the materials and explore its different boundaries. Over time the child gains thorough awareness of the underlying concepts behind the lessons, without the need to rely on mere memorization.

Besides the above important tenets, all other activities and principles in an recognized Montessori school are standard and consistent with the wants and needs of young children. They enjoy play time, engaging recess periods, story time, activities in groups (small and large), special events and a wide variety of fun activities. Yet, at a deeper level and without the immediate awareness by the child, critical life-skills and academic concepts are being established and children begin to embrace the joy and fun of learning.

Further, in a Montessori classroom, all major subjects are covered, in accordance to the age-level: Areas of learning include but aren’t limited to: Mathematics, language, geometry, geography, science and botany, art, music, culture, social studies, foreign languages, among others.

The Montessori Method

Dr. Maria Montessori was a child development and education pioneer who established the Montessori philosophy. Dr. Montessori was born Chiaravalle (Province of Ancona, Italy), became first female doctor in Italy and was also three-time nominee for the Noble Peace Prize, from1949 through 1951.

Her passion to help children was so intense that she gave up medicine and dedicated her life to studying and developing children of working parents. It was through this work that she established the now world-renowned Montessori Method of Education and the first “Casa de Bambini” (or “Children’s House”).

Through much research, Dr. Montessori found that children absorb their environment without much effort. In other words, we are “pre-wired” and designed to adapt to our natural environments with ease. As a result of these observations, she designed specialized materials and equipment to enable children to work and learn in this natural and se-based form. Many of today’s renowned child psychologists such as J. Piaget, A. Adler, A. Freud and E. Erikson, studied under her guidance.

During her career, Dr. Montessori visited many countries, especially across Europe and Asia, giving lectures and establishing Montessori Training Institutes. Her first visit to the United States was in 1913 and aided by Alexander Graham Bell, the Montessori Educational Association was founded in Washington, D.C. Other faithful supporters were Hellen Keller and Thomas Edison.

Dr. Montessori developed the concepts of: The “open classroom”; “teaching-toys”; individualized education; manipulative learning materials; age-appropriate learning equipment and furniture (such as small tables and chairs) and systematic instruction. Decades of research about the Montessori Method across continents, have yielded wonder and confirmation about the myriad of benefits that are derived from the application of these concepts.

Dr. Montessori passed away in 1952, in Holland. Today however, her work lives-on through the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), and the myriad of dedicated institutions, training centers and Montessori schools all over the world.

For more information about Dr. Montessori and her work, please visit the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) website.