What is the Montessori Method?
Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was the first woman in Italy who became a medical doctor. She later gave up her practice of medicine to become an educator, focusing on the education and the rights of young children. Years of hard work, observing the young child and studying the discoveries and practices of pioneer educators, enlightened and inspired her to formulate a teaching method that has positively influenced the educational practice for decades. The Montessori Method is founded on a basic principle:
respect for the young child, for his work, and his dignity. The child, said Dr. Montessori, “has the task of creating a great masterpiece which is the man-to-be.” Thus the greatest respect is owed to the young child.
Dr. Montessori designed an impressive array of teaching materials that have proved to be invaluable tools for learning. In a carefully prepared environment and under the guidance of a competent and creative director/ directress, the child is allowed to progress at his or her own pace, working with learning materials and manipulating them until mastery of the underlying concept. As the hand is used as the instrument of his mind, the child absorbs concepts and understands them. In an environment both nurturing and stimulating, the young child acquires daily experiences in developing independence, self-discipline, responsibility, order, concentration, inner peace, and respect for others and the environment.