The child is truly a miraculous being, and this should be felt deeply by the educator.
- Dr. Maria Montessori
The Montessori Method is a method of education that accepts children the way they are. It respects the unique individuality of each child. Dr. Montessori believed in the worthiness, value and importance of children. The method does not compare children to one another and to standardised norms. It is founded on the belief that children should be free to succeed and learn without restriction or criticism.
It is an approach that takes to heart the needs, talents, gifts, and special individuality of each child. It is an experiential approach to learning that helps children learn in their own way at their own pace. The main concept of Montessori is to promote the joy of learning. This joy of learning develops a well adjusted person who has a purpose and direction in life. Children, who experience the joy of learning, are happy, confident, fulfilled children. In essence, Montessori helps bring to the fore the gift of each child.
Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was an Italian physician, educator, philosopher, and three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee. She became the very first woman in Italy to receive a degree in medicine in 1894. She worked with disabled children in Rome as a child psychiatrist. After being appointed director of the Orthophrenic School in 1898, Maria Montessori used the environment as an educational tool to teach children with special needs. This endeavour laid the foundation for what is known today as the Montessori Education Method. Maria Montessori believed that if her method would work for disabled children then it could be used to benefit normal children in a much more powerful way.
Naturally, wanting to help improve education and spread love for learning with others, Maria Montessori opened her first day care in Rome. It was called Case dei Bambini (Children's house) and was where she began perfecting her method. Maria Montessori realized success in Rome with the Children's House. Her ideas and understanding of the child psyche began to spread to other parts of the world. The first Montessori school in the United States was established in Tarrytown N. Y. in the year 1912. And in other regions of the world, such as Europe and India, Montessori schools were growing rapidly. As Montessori became a powerful influence in India, Maria Montessori interned at the Theosophical Society of India from 1939 to 1949. Here she created the Training Courses with the aid of her son Mario Montessori. Maria Montessori lived out the remainder of her life in the Netherlands, which is now the headquarters of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).
Montessori works in a methodical way. Each step in the process leads to the next level of learning. When a child performs activities, he or she is learning concepts for abstract learning. Repetition of activities is an integral part of this learning process. For young children, Montessori is a hands on approach to learning. It encourages children to develop their observation skills by doing many types of activities. These activities include use of the five senses, kinetic movement, spatial refinement, small and large motor skill coordination, and concrete knowledge that leads to later abstraction.
Articles advocating Montessori Education
Harvard Business Review: Montessori Build Innovators
The world is a really interesting place, and one that should be explored. Can there be any better foundation for an innovator in training than Montessori?
Forbes: Is Montessori the Origin of Google and Amazon?
Montessori methods go against the grain of traditional educational methods but they have uncanny parallels in the success of their alumni
Science Journal: Evaluating Montessori Education
Montessori education provides better outcomes than traditional methods, according to study published in the journal Science.
Montessori environments are multi-age by design. Montessori children are not bound by traditional grade levels, so they can move ahead when they're academically and developmentally ready for new work.
Montessori students are not held back while waiting for others to catch up. And when they need extra time to reinforce a lesson or concept, they can work individually at their own pace without impacting the rest of the class.
The mixed age grouping of a Montessori environment is a critical part of what makes the dynamics of the environment successful. It allows the children to learn from each other. The older children love to share their knowledge and it enables the younger ones to learn from them. The older students are tremendous role models for the younger children and by watching the older children, the younger ones strive to challenge themselves and look forward to future activities and presentations. Children gain an appreciation for their achievement and the accomplishments of others.