About Dr. Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori was an Italian educator of the early 20th century and is remembered as the founder of the famous Montessori Method of education which emphasized hands-on, individualized learning within mixed age groups in a child-friendly setting. Her teaching philosophy and her discoveries about the process of learning revolutionized the field of education in the United States and profoundly influenced children’s education all around the world.
Despite the familiarity of her name, few realize that much of the developmental,
hands-on” approach now employed in preschools and kindergartens can be traced to the innovations of Maria Montessori. Although best known as an educator, Montessori’s formal training was as a scientist and medical doctor. She is also notable for having been Italy’s first female M.D. for her committed efforts on behalf of children, especially in the face of the fascism of World War II. Montessori was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize (1949, 1950, and 1951).
The Montessori Method
“I have studied the child. I have taken what the child has given me and expressed it and that is what is called the Montessori Method.” Dr. Maria Montessori.
The Montessori Method is a way of thinking about who children are. It is a philosophy that respects the unique individuality of each child. Dr. Montessori believed in the worthiness, value and importance of children. Her method does not compare a child to norms or standards that are measured by traditional educational systems.
It is also an approach to education that takes to heart the needs, talents, gifts, and special individuality of each child. It is a process 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 his or her life. Children, who experience the joy of learning, are happy, confident, fulfilled children. In essence, Montessori helps bring forth the giftedness of each child.
Another important skill it teaches is self-reliance and independence. It helps a child to become independent by teaching him or her life skills, which is called practical life. Montessori children learn to dress themselves, help cook, put their toys and clothes away and take an active part in their household, neighborhood, and school.
Montessori works in a methodical way. Each step in the process leads to the next level of learning. When a child works, 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 the use of the five senses, kinetic movement, spatial refinement, small and large motor skill coordination, and concrete knowledge that leads to later abstraction.
The main goal of Montessori is to provide a stimulating, child-oriented environment that children can explore, touch, and learn without fear. An understanding parent or teacher is a large part of this child’s world. The end result is to encourage lifelong learning, the joy of learning, and happiness about one’s path and purpose in life.