Maria Montessori was born in Italy; in 1870. A brilliant physician; she was one of the first women to be granted a medical degree from an Italian University. After graduation, Dr. Montessori became Director of a school for intellectually disabled children. Her work with these children saw remarkable results. When they competed successfully in public examinations, Dr. Montessori began to wonder what was possible using similar methods with “normal” children.
Her life work began in 1907 with a group of pre-school children in the poor areas of Rome, when she opened her famous “Casa dei Bambini” or “Children’s House”. Through her observations and work with these children she discovered their astonishing, almost effortless ability to learn. Children taught themselves! This simple but profound truth formed the cornerstone of her life- long pursuit of educational reform.
The Montessori method is based on these fundamental precepts:
Children learn to respect themselves and their environment and children develop a deep love of learning. These principles and careful observation form a child-centered method of learning. It’s goal is the development of the whole self – emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually toward the nurturing of peaceful and respectful citizens.
The Montessori carefully prepared classroom environment honors the child as well as the beauty and order essential to work at a natural; individual level. Carefully designed materials attract the interest of the student, while also teaching isolated concepts for the child’s discovery. The child constructs her own reality and awareness, at first through hands-on manipulation, until she discovers the next level of abstraction. The integrated Montessori curriculum enables the child to discover how every aspect of learning is connected and intertwined. The trained Montessori teacher guides the child within this carefully designed environment as she progresses to higher level skills and mastery occurs.