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method

The Montessori Method is a method of education founded by Dr. Maria Montessori.

Dr. Maria Montessori was born in Italy in 1870 and was the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome Medical School. She became highly involved in children’s education when asked to work with children from impoverished backgrounds in Rome. In 1901 she worked in a centre for children who due to their circumstances could not be taught. She transformed the environment in these centres into one providing love, care and rich experiences. The children soon began to pass exams which they were thought incapable of. In 1907 she organised day-care for young children in one of Rome’s poorest areas where they took care of their own environment and were given real life challenges. This was the first ‘Casa dei Bambini’, Children’s House, which laid the foundation for The Montessori Method world wide.   

Her ideas surrounding education were based on her personal observations in which philosophy and pedagogy are intertwined. They encourage the children to develop their creativity, problem solving skills, critical thinking and time-management. The children can therefore contribute to society and the environment, and become fulfilled persons in their particular time and place on earth. This holistic approach is the basis of the Montessori practice: children find their inner motivation for learning while their individual choice of research and work is respected.

When Dr. Maria Montessori passed away in 1952 she left behind a method of education to which there is no parallel and which has stood the test of time. Provided with the right kinds of activities at the right time of development in an atmosphere of respect and freedom, the child will absorb knowledge effortlessly, and his intellectual, social, moral and spiritual development will be nurtured and satisfied.
There are 3 central ideas to The Montessori Method:

1 It is a method based on the universal characteristics of the child i.e. children have an inborn motivation to learn, they have an absorbent mind and they learn through sensitive periods.

2 The classroom is a prepared environment, where there is freedom, structure, order, simplicity, aesthetic awareness and above all there is harmony.

3 The teacher or director/directress has a professional preparation and deep respect for the child.

Montessori schools teach independence from an early age. The children take an active part in running their school, like preparing and serving food and drinks, putting equipment away after they have used it and taking care of their class environment. Practical tasks such as making sandwiches, tying shoe laces, sweeping and polishing, are available for children to learn on a daily basis.

Children are not expected to conform to set standards of achievement as in conventional schools. The Montessori Method takes account of the needs, talents, gifts and individuality of each child. The children learn at their own pace, in an atmosphere where their  work is valued which makes learning fun.

In a Montessori environment children are encouraged to respect and help each other. If they choose, they will work with other children, help each other, or 'teach' each other, and they enjoy doing so. It is wonderful to watch children who really want to be responsible members of a small community.

The equipment available for learning is unique and designed by Maria Montessori. It is exceptionally good quality equipment, which means the children value it and treat it with care.

The environment of a Montessori school is peaceful and facilitates learning. Since children are happy and are learning at their own pace, they like to maintain the order in the class and respect the rules with pleasure.
 

 

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