The Montessori method of teaching is an internationally renowned, theoretical concept based upon proven scientific observations. It is a holistic, comprehensive approach to an educational system. This system includes the lifestyle and all areas of the child’s development; physical, social, emotional and cognitive. This method of teaching establishes a way of life. Children love to learn and question. This system develops a life-long quest to experience and understand life, never forgetting the value of life for all creatures and environments.
Student-led education, guided, assessed and enriched by knowledgeable and caring teachers. Children have the freedom to question, think critically, work collaboratively and act boldly with integrity. They grow up to be both the leaders and the students of their peers. Developing self-confidence and maturity, accountable both to themselves and their community.
Who Is Montessori?
In 1896 Maria Montessori was the first female in Italy to graduate as a medical doctor. Her early medical practice focussed on psychiatry and the education of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
She was appointed as a co-director of a new training institute for teachers. Maria Montessori approached her new role as a scientist, carefully observing and experimenting with various training methods on the children around the institute. She was amazed at the progress that they exhibited.
In 1907 she opened her first Casa dei Bambini (Childrens House), in San Lorenzo. This child-care centre housed children from 3 to 7 years of age. These children were left to their own devices while their parents went out to work. This high-quality learning environment was a first in its field.
What are the Main Principles of Montessori Education?
- Children are shown respect and respect others.
- Children have absorbent minds from birth to six years old, learning from their environment without conscious effort, naturally and spontaneously.
- Children have sensitive periods from birth to six years old, periods when certain actions are learnt naturally, almost by osmosis. These are order, movement, refinement of the senses, amongst others.
- Children learn best in a prepared environment; the teacher makes sure that the activities and materials offered in the classroom are suitable for the developmental needs and interests of each individual child.
- Children can teach themselves through auto-education; meaning that children who naturally make connections of their new knowledge themselves through their own actions.
- Classes are mixed age groups of children, in 3-year groupings.
- Children work uninterrupted with a self-chosen activity for a minimum of 3 hours.
Rewards and punishments are not used