Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was an Italian physician and educator. Through her observations she discovered that when young children are free to concentrate, engage and investigate purposeful activity, natural learning occurs. Right from birth children are naturally open to and vividly aware of the world, taking in impressions through all their senses.
Through these senses and experiences they absorb knowledge effortlessly. Montessori referred to this as the “absorbent mind’. She also identified developmental stages through the child’s early years when all their energies are focused on the development of a new skill, be it language, the need for order, fascination in tiny objects, gross or fine motor development and so on. These she referred to as ‘sensitive periods’.
Montessori education provides experiences and opportunities for the child’s sensitive periods and absorbent mind to be fostered through a specially prepared environment.Montessori is a teaching philosophy that encompasses a peaceful and respectful way of living. Our children are empowered to foster their uniqueness in a very calm environment. Montessori is a lifetime adventure that allows children to explore in prepared and natural environments. It gives them the opportunity to develop the skills to succeed in life and to find their inner selves.
Montessori education instills mindfulness, kindness, peace and freedom within a prepared environment. Children receive more individual attention than in any other system of education, as the environment encourages intrinsic motivation and extended periods of concentration with no interruptions. The materials are geared toward specific stages of child development and multi-age classrooms bring a sense of belonging and community. It is a way of life that nurtures the body, mind and spirit of children and encourages them to develop into their best possible selves.
Montessori is an individualized learning process that empowers children to be independent. It offers self-correcting activities that promote freedom and self-discipline that arise from within. It is an approach that values and acknowledges the inner-guide of the child .
Montessori guides don’t teach children how to do things as much as showing them how to do it themselves, preparing them for the challenges of today and tomorrow. As guides, we are learning partners with our children and we learn from them as they learn from us.
This is an education of the whole child including physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and social ways of being.
It is a child-centered environment where children are given the freedom to choose work, based on their developmental needs and interests. The teacher, or guide, works to establish core values of respect and peace while encouraging independence. Through careful observation, the guide links children to what they need in the environment.