Montessori education is a multi-age, child-oriented method of education scientifically designed to guide children in their natural unfolding of growth and development. The prepared environment encourages self-directed work with use of the Montessori materials. This leads to inner discipline and provides limitless opportunities for mastery. Individual work and collaborative work together leads to independence and healthy social and emotional development.
In the prepared environment is also an adult who uses observation to identify each child’s next steps in development. Each Montessori guide recognizes each child’s unique learning capabilities and thus creates a partnership in learning between the child, the environment and the teacher. When a child’s interests are heard and honored, that child develops strong self-confidence and becomes self-directed. From this self-confidence come initiation, and then self-motivation. When a human is self-motivated, they learn inner discipline. With inner discipline, self-mastery begins as early as infancy.
When you walk into Rose: A Montessori School, you will see beauty all around you. Each part of the environment is organized with a purpose, every material has a place where it “lives’ so there is a strong sense of order for the children, and the environment is calm and joyful. To see more about each environment, please go to the links for the Parent - Infant classes and the Young Children’s Community.
About Dr. Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori (1870-1952) achieved international renown as the first woman to practice medicine in Italy, for the revolutionary educational method she created which spread throughout the world, and as a three time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.
During both her medical training and her studies as an anthropologist, Dr. Montessori learned and practiced the keen discipline of observation. Soon after she graduated from medical school, she was assigned to work with abandoned children in a psychiatric clinic in Rome. Her question during that assignment was, “How can I reach these children?” Through continued observation, she realized that the youth were able to teach themselves when given stimulating materials, freedom to explore and when immersed in an environment that was conducive to such learning. This was one of many first steps Dr. Montessori took on her path as an Educator and champion for all children.
She investigated what had been done in the past with children who were deemed ‘mentally retarded” or disadvantaged and found two French scientists, Jean Marc Itard and Edouard Seguin, had experienced great success when they gave “manipulatives” to children when presenting a concept. Dr. Montessori is known for,”give to the hand what you give to the mind.” When presenting a concept even as basic as a word, give a representation of that concept in a concrete form to the child and they will gain a deeper learning of that subject. She knew this was due to humans being multi-sensory learners.
She adapted the materials from Itard and Seguin and continued to create hundreds of new materials to reach youth and begin to educate children under the age of 6. (Later she created materials for children through age 12.) When given an opportunity to open her first environment in January, 1907, it was received extremely well and there became a high demand for more schools and other adults to be trained in her methodology. She came to see that education should be an aid to life rather than mere acquisition of knowledge. She also knew that a child’s physical, social, emotional, spiritual and intellectual developments were interrelated.
Dr. Montessori continued to develop and sharpen her pedagogy throughout the rest of her life. She traveled the world to train teachers, open schools and to give lectures. From studying children from around the world, she developed her method towards the universality of human development. Dr. Montessori believed all children have the innate desire to learn and that with the appropriate environment, the adult need only to, “follow the child.”