What is Montessori?
Dr. Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952) developed her philosophy of education based upon her observation of children and her training in psychology and medicine. Montessori recognized that the most important years for learning are those between birth and six. Children, she noted, absorbed effortlessly the impressions, information and ideas from their surroundings.
She saw that at certain times young children had a special ability to focus on specific aspects of their environment. She referred to these as “sensitive periods”. Montessori developed a classroom that allowed children to meet their needs through individual spontaneous activity.
Dr Montessori believed that no human being (he or she) is educated by another person. They must do it themselves or it will never be done.
A truly educated individual continues learning long after the hours and years they have spent in the classroom because a natural curiosity and love for knowledge motivate children from within.
Dr Montessori felt, therefore, that the goal of early childhood education should not be to fill children with facts from a pre-selected course of study, but rather to cultivate the child’s own natural desire to learn. She also believed that learning takes place in a carefully prepared nurturing, multi-age classroom. In this prepared environment children at various stages of development learn from and help each other. Dr. Montessori’s approach was designed to fit each child instead of making each child fit the program.
Respect for each child’s individuality is at the core of her philosophy.