Dr. Maria Montessori
Dr. Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952), was an Italian physician, educator, philosopher, and humanitarian. She was the originator of the Montessori Method of Education.
Dr. Montessori was the first woman to become a doctor of medicine in Italy. While working with physically and emotionally challenged children in a Rome clinic, Dr. Montessori observed the positive impact on the learning process when the children worked with specially designed equipment. It was this observation that inspired her to design special learning materials that revolutionized the teaching of basic skills for all students. In 1907, she directed her first school “Casa Dei Bambini.” World famous educators visited her school in Italy to observe the impact on the learning process as the children used her carefully designed materials.
The visitors also discovered the new method of education was characterized by emphasizing self-directed activity on the part of the child. Montessori stressed the importance of adapting the child’s learning environment to his or her development level. It was clear that the role of physical activity was extremely important in helping the children to grasp abstract concepts and in learning practical skills.
Dr. Montessori then felt the need to educate adults caring for children and she traveled to Asia, Europe and America to train teachers in the use of her method and her equipment. Her educational method is in use today in public as well as private schools throughout the world.
Montessori and the ChildDr. Montessori recognized that self-motivation is the only valid impulse to learning. She understood the need to acquire basic skills before participating in a competitive learning situation. The years between the ages of 3 and 6 are not only the prime time for laying down an academic foundation, but most importantly, the years when a child learns the ground rules of human behavior most easily. These are the years to help a child in preparing to take his/her place in society through the acquisition of good habits and manners.
To the child, the world appears chaotic. From this chaos the child gradually creates order and learns to distinguish among the impressions which assail the senses, thus slowly gaining mastery to self and the environment.
The principal essentials for the child development is concentration, perseverance and thoroughness – which established in early years will provide a confident and a competent learner in the later years. At a very early age through a series of carefully laid out activities and materials in areas such as practical life – enables the child to develop control of movement and the maturity to complete a cycle of activities. The sensorial apparatus provides the development of the five senses and is an indirect preparation for writing, reading, math and science skills – music is also introduced at this stage of development.
The teacher prepares the environment, programs the activities, functions as a reference person, and offers the child stimulation, but it is the child who learns, who is motivated through the world itself to persist in his or her chosen task.
In short, the basic Montessori philosophy is development within each child to the fullest potential to achieve a freedom through order and self-discipline. IT WORKS!