What is Montessori education?
Montessori is an approach to education discovered by Dr. Maria
Montessori. It is based on the fundamental belief that a child learns
best within a social environment which supports and respects each
individual's unique development.
"It is necessary to give children the possibility of developing
according to the laws of their nature, so that they can become strong,
and having become strong, can do even more than we dared hope for
them" - Maria Montessori
In 1870, Dr. Maria Montessori was born in Chiaravalle, Italy. She was
nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times in 1949, 1950, and
1951. She discovered that education is a natural process which
develops spontaneously in the human being. It is not acquired by
listening to words, but by experiences through his environment. She
believed that Child, Teacher and Prepared Environment are the key
components of Montessori classrooms. Teacher prepares the environment
for the child and acts as a connector between the environment and the
child. Montessori spoke of the prepared environment as being 'the gift
of the teacher to the child'.
The primary goal of a Montessori program is to help each child
reach full potential in all areas of life. Activities promote the
development of social skills, emotional growth and physical
coordination as well as cognitive preparation. The holistic curriculum
under the direction of a specially prepared teacher allows the child
to experience the joy of learning, time to enjoy the process and
ensure the development of self esteem and provides the experience from
which children create their knowledge.
Each Montessori classroom from birth through high school operates
on the principles of freedom within limits. Every program is based on
core Montessori beliefs-respect for each other and for the
Children are free to work at their own pace with materials they
have chosen, either alone or with others. The teacher relies on
his or her observations of the children to determine which new
activities and materials may be introduced to an individual child
or to a group. The aim is to encourage active, self directed
learning and to strike a balance of individual mastery within
small group collaboration within the whole group community.
The multi-year age span in each class provides a family like grouping
where learning can take place naturally. More experienced children
share what they have learned while reinforcing their own learning.
There are six basic components to the Montessori classroom
environment. They deal with the concepts of freedom, structure and
order, reality and nature, beauty and atmosphere, the Montessori
materials, and the development of the community life. Also, there are
two key components: the environment, including the educational
materials, and exercises; and the teachers who prepare this