WHAT IS MONTESSORI EDUCATION?
Scientific observation has established that education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment.
Maria Montessori, Education for a New World
A Century of Discoveries
In the early 1900’s, Maria Montessori, a physician in Italy, was invited to open a child-care facility for underprivileged children. Her observations and work with those children revealed a different view of childhood and were the beginning of a worldwide educational reform—a new look at how education is viewed and its goals.
Montessori education is about understanding and aiding the natural process of child development and learning. Its principles, methods, and materials are scientifically supported, researched, and time-tested. Montessori classrooms include the outdoors and aid children in valuing and caring for the wonders of our Earth.
Dr. Montessori observed that young children have “absorbent minds” which are non-discriminating, taking in everything in their environment. Until the age of six, all children learn everything through their senses. Dr. Montessori developed materials and gave the children objects to help train their senses to be more useful. Young children also have a natural affinity for language, including music. The classic Montessori sandpaper letters help train the child’s hand for writing while introducing symbols for the sounds in the child’s native language, leading to reading.
Around the age of six, children change. Their bodies grow leaner and they get new teeth. Their minds also change and become more logical and reasoning. They are very interested in how the whole world works. Elementary students in a Montessori school are presented a cosmic view of the world, beginning with the Universe. Key lessons in biology, history, literature, geography, and math are related showing the connectedness of all life.
Maria Montessori was also an advocate for peace. She believed that peace is attainable through understanding, tolerance, and gratitude, and that the child is the hope for the future. Students in Montessori schools practice caring for others and the Earth.