The Montessori Method is named for the Italian physician, Maria Montessori. It stresses the importance of the development of a healthy self-concept. Education, she believed, is a preparation for life, not merely a search for intellectual skill.
Maria Montessori, born in 1870, was the first woman granted a medical degree by an Italian university. Influenced by the work of Seguin and Itard of France, Montessori designed materials and techniques which allowed the children to work in areas previously considered beyond their capacity.
Montessori’s life work began with a group of slum children in 1907 when she opened her famous ‘Casa Dei Bambini’. Through her observations of and work with the children, she discovered their remarkable, almost effortless ability to absorb knowledge through their surroundings: children teach themselves. This simple and profound truth inspired Montessori’s lifelong pursuit of educational reform, curriculum, development, methodology, psychology, teaching and teacher training – all based on her dedication to further the self-creating process of the child.
The didactic materials in each Montessori classroom give children an abundance of opportunities to learn by action upon their environments. A variety of attractive and inviting materials are available to children of all developmental levels. The interesting and inviting materials in the Montessori classroom encourage repetition and, therefore, facilitate learning. Through repetition, children redefine their new skills, becoming satisfied and proud of their achievements. Children can choose from a variety of activities, which exercises both their minds and bodies.
Mixed age grouping in the classroom allows some wonderful social and educational situations to arise. Younger children are a constant witness to the skills and activities of older peers and older students have the opportunity to share their experiences with the less-skilled, learning as they teach. The social setting is designed to limit competitiveness in that, even though children are working and achieving at their own levels, no one child is singled out or made an example. The children are invited to share with and help one another teaching and redefining through the process.
All children are treated equally, with respect and gentility. All successes, great and small, are given equal recognition. The children are encouraged to appreciate their own accomplishments, opinions, insights and feelings, rather than rely upon praise from an adult. Emphasis is placed on the process and effort.
Practical Life: The youngest children begin in the practical life area of the classroom where such exercises as polishing silver, washing dishes and tying bows increase the child’s attention span and concentration. Additionally, these exercises develop both gross and fine motor coordination and enable the child to experience satisfaction over mastery of exercise of a task.
Sensorial: A child learns through his senses. By providing interrelated sensorial materials the child is guided through a series of exercises involving discrimination. Initially, the comparisons are great, gradually they become more subtle.
Language: Learning the basic phonetic sounds through the five senses enables the child to build simple words. As the child progresses, sentences are then constructed with the movable alphabet and ultimately the parts of speech, grammar and syntax are studied.
Our teachers approach with two viewpoints in mind. Children are carefully considered as individuals and as group members. Individually, the children are given lessons, responded to as appropriate and appreciated for their unique qualities. As group members, children are observed to see how they fit within the class and what part of the group dynamics each one plays. The teachers model appropriate behavior to encourage group cooperation and guide freedom within the limits of respect in the classroom. They offer the children stimulation, creative programs designed to meet the diverse needs in the groups through the provision of appropriate materials, activities and experiences. The teachers know where each child is developmentally and provide for their individual needs.