The Montessori method was developed to use children’s natural curiosity and interests to learn and explore their world. Dr. Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952) was Italy’s first woman physician. She held a doctorate in psychiatry, philosophy, and was a professor of anthropology. Through much observation and experimentation, Dr. Montessori created a method of education that is based on the developmental tendencies of human beings. The Montessori Method of teaching is a time tested, proven form of education.
Montessori classrooms emphasize learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities. They are not required to sit and listen to a teacher talk to a group, but are engaged in individual or group activities of their own, with materials that have been introduced to them 1:1 by the teacher who knows what each child is ready to do. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning.
The Montessori environment is designed for experiential learning. Everything is accessible to the children and is readily available for their use. The materials are carefully prepared to spark curiosity and stimulate the desire to explore. They are self-correcting, thus fostering independence and auto-education. The opportunity to realize and correct one’s own mistakes enhances a student’s sense of self-confidence and independence.
A partnership with the natural environment is also vital to the development of elementary age children. Montessori children spend a great deal of time investigating the world around them. They discover how to care for and live in community with all living things.
Education of the “whole self” is paramount, and therefore personal and interpersonal growth is cultivated as well. The children move freely throughout the classroom exploring, interacting, and making work choices. This helps to foster responsibility and self-discipline.
Ultimately, the Montessori Method provides an opportunity for children to explore, grow and direct their own educational experience. This freedom leads to the development of joyful lifelong learners, ambassadors of peace, caretakers of the environment, and citizens of the world.