“Education is acquired not by listening to words, but by experience in which the child acts on her environment.” The foundation for the Montessori program is Education for Character. Dr. Maria Montessori believed and demonstrated that “Children learn best in an environment of love, trust, understanding, patience, and consistency.”
It is the Montessori Philosophy and fundamental purpose to guide children in learning to develop independence, respect, cooperation, self-discipline, self-confidence, and self-esteem. These values are brought to life by the children as they experience the joy of learning and participating with friends in a variety of educational activities.
Within the framework of Montessori principles, each child progresses at his/her own pace in discovering individual talents, interests, and skills to develop his/her unique intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual capacities.
Dr. Maria Montessori is the creator of this education based on scientific observations of the behavior of young children. Maria Montessori was the first female physician that graduated from the University of Rome. She became involved in education when she (as a doctor) treated children that were labeled “retarded”. In 1907, Maria was asked to oversee the opening of a child’s care center for children of extremely poor families in Rome’s San Lorenzo slums.
She named the center “A Children’s House” and filled it with a huge number of appropriate materials for development and encouragement of these children and provided experiences that contributed to the development and growth of independent, self-motivated, learners.
Maria Montessori then carried her message all across the world, including the U.S already in 1912. At first, the American response was enthusiastic but this interest waned until the Montessori Method was reintroduced in the mid-1950’s which led to the establishment of the American Montessori Society later in 1960.
The holistic Montessori curriculum which was directed by specially prepared teachers is allowing children to experience the excitement of learning. It allows for time to enjoy the learning process, ensures the development of their self-esteem, and is full of experiences that stimulate the development of their knowledge. In this way, the teacher gains the children’s trust which is very helpful to build self-confidence and try new things. This is holistic education to its fullest!
The used materials. Maria Montessori’s observations of what children are enjoying and will go back to over and over again led her to develop a wide range of self-correcting, multisensory, and sequential materials which is facilitating the adaption and development of skills and will be leading to the development of abstract ideas.
In the Montessori system, the teacher is actually a learning facilitator. Every teacher is required to follow an extensive training of at least one full year after earning their Bachelor’s degree to be able to acquire their AMS credential. They also must have a full year of supervised teaching for that age group they’ll be working with (for example infant and toddler, 3 to 6-year-olds, or elementary or secondary level students).
All Montessori classes operate from the principle of “Freedom, but within Limits.” All educational programs have their own sets of ground rules that will vary from age group to age group. These ground rules are, however, always based on the fundamental Montessori beliefs and principles of respect for one another and the environment. See also this overview of persons with a Montessori education.
Children may freely work with materials of their own choice and at the own pace they choose, and they can do so alone or together with others. Teachers rely on their own observations of their students to determine if or which new activities they will introduce to a group of children or to an individual child. It is always a teacher’s aim to encourage self-directed and active learning and to encourage individual mastery through small group interaction that will benefit the entire group community.
These specific group learning stimulants are intrinsic to Maria Montessori’s methods. Often, there’ll be more conversation and other language experiences in a typical Montessori classroom than in a traditional early education setting. Over the last few years, Montessori homeschooling has also gained a lot of recognition and is becoming increasingly popular.
All children, from Montessori toddler to teenager, learn to expresses themselves in very individual ways. Music, drama, art, storytelling, and movement are always part of Montessori programs in America. Yet there are more things specific to the environment of Montessori education that stimulate the creative development process.
The educational system comes with many materials to encourage interest and involvement in the learning process. There is an emphasis on all sensory aspects of the learning experience and opportunities for verbal and non-verbal ways of learning and communication are actively provided and stimulated.