About Dr. Maria Montessori
Dr. Maria Montessori was born on August 31st, 1870, in Chiaravalle, Italy. She was a doctor, a scientist, a university professor and an educator. In 1890, when she was 20 years old, she chose to study medicine. Her father was strongly against this idea as he wanted her to become a teacher. She refused flatly, “Anything but a teacher!” Interestingly, due to her work as a medical doctor, she got involved in education and has become one of the greatest educators of all times.
Montessori’s method brought a paradigm shift in the Italian educational system at a time when it was believed that children tended to be messy and chaotic; that they were like an empty cup and a teacher’s role was to fill them up. However, through her years of observations and working with children, she discovered the following:
With an absorbent mind, children have an innate desire to learn.
If given the freedom for them to act at their own pace and choice, they actually enjoy working and try to create order and sense out of their surroundings.
Instead of toys, they were more interested in practical activities and materials she had designed for them and were surprisingly unmotivated by sweets and other rewards.
Montessori came to the conclusion that the children's spontaneous activity in such a free environment revealed an internal program of development, and that the appropriate role of the educator was to remove obstacles to this natural development and provide opportunities for it to proceed and flourish.
The Montessori method was originated from her work with mentally retarded children in an asylum in Rome. To everyone’s surprise, many of these so-called idiot children actually passed the public exams designed for their normal counterparts. She then applied her theory to normal children in 1907 when she opened her first Children’s House (Casa Dei Bambini). It was again an immediate success. Since then, many Montessori schools were established in Italy. By the end of 1911, public schools in Italy had officially adopted her method.
As a matter of fact, the Montessori Method created enormous impact not only in Italy, but also all over the world. You can find Montessori schools in almost every continent today. For more information about Dr. Maria Montessori, please watch the video below:
1. A Montessori education respects the child as an individual and follows his natural development.
-“The education of early childhood should be based entirely upon this principle: Assist the natural development of the child.”
2. A Montessori education does not make a child to learn; rather, we guide him to follow his innate desire of learning. As such, we provide a nurturing environment for his intelligence to grow.
- "Our care of the child should be governed, not by the desire to make him learn things, but by the endeavor always to keep burning within him that light which is called intelligence."
3. A Montessori education prepares a child to become the master of himself, so he is ready not just for school, but for a well-ordered life.
-"We claim that an individual is disciplined when he is the master of himself and when he can, as a consequence, control himself when he must follow a rule of life. Such a concept of active discipline is not easy to understand nor to attain."
-"A teacher must possess a special technique in order to be able to lead a child along this way of discipline, which he should follow all his life as he constantly prefects himself in it. Just as a child, when he learns how to move about instead of remaining fixed in one spot, is preparing himself not for school but for a well-ordered life, so he becomes accustomed to a discipline which is not limited to the school but which extends out into society."
American Montessori Society (AMS) defines Montessori Education as such:
"Montessori education is student-led and self-paced but guided, assessed, and enriched by knowledgeable and caring teachers, the leadership of their peers, and a nurturing environment.
Within the community of a multi-age classroom—designed to create natural opportunities for independence, citizenship, and accountability—children embrace multi-sensory learning and passionate inquiry. Individual students follow their own curiosity at their own pace, taking the time they need to fully understand each concept and meet individualized learning goals." Read more
Montessori schools promote hands on, self paced, collaborative, joyful learning. Children in Montessori follow their interests, wherever that passion leads; giving them strong academics, leadership, self discipline, responsibility, independence, initiative and a lifelong love of learning.
Children are innately interested in learning about the world around them and through their natural curiosity are able to develop themselves. By providing an environment that supports natural development, Montessori education enables children to develop the fundamental capacities that they need to become happy and fulfilled adults who contribute to society.
Authentic Montessori environments encompass the following principles:
Mixed age groups which not only offer a wide range of activities to spark children’s interest but also enable children to learn from others and learn by helping others.
Freedom for children to work at their own pace, without interruption, choosing from a range of activities that are developmentally challenging and appropriate.
Exploration is encouraged so that children find things out for themselves, make mistakes and correct them independently.
Respect for each child as an individual personality with unique talents.
Respect for others, the community and the environment. Read more
Benefits of a Montessori Approach
3. Beauty about the Montessori Education, written by a Chinese Montessori teacher Ms. Pamela