“The greatness of the human personality begins at the hour of birth.” – Maria Montessori
Dr Maria Montessori (1870-1952f) was an Italian physician, educator, philosopher and humanitarian. She is best known for her philosophy and method of education of children from birth to adolescence. She was the first female doctor of medicine in Italy, and through her interest in paediatrics, psychiatry and educational theory, she proposed her own philosophy of child development. This forms the basis for the successful and enduring teaching method known as Montessori method.
All Children Have Absorbent Minds
They have a phenomenal inborn ability to learn with ease, especially from birth to the age of 6 years, but to reach their full potential their environment must be rich with learning opportunities. On entering the Montessori classroom, your child will instantly be able to choose from a great range of activities appropriate to his stage of development.
Children Have An Inborn Drive To Learn
Hence the barrage of how and why questions. In the Montessori classroom the teacher does not impose learning on your child but harnesses this desire to learn, guiding your child within a carefully structured environment designed to help him reach his full potential.
Children Learn Through Being Active
Few young children are good at sitting and listening. They learn in an active, concrete way. Most activities are self-correcting, so after being shown once, your child learns through exploring and experimenting with this unique material. From their earliest days in school, children are introduced in a fun and practical way to a far-reaching curriculum including numeracy, literacy, science, history, geography, music, art, games and dance, languages and social skills.
Children Pass Through ‘Sensitive Periods’
These are phases in a child’s life when he becomes particularly interested in certain skills, and learning is therefore especially fast and acute. An obvious example is the sensitive period for language development from birth to 4 years. In the classroom your child is given the freedom to choose his activities and therefore can focus on his particular interests until he moves on to his next sensitive period.
The Montessori approach is holistic and aims to develop the whole child. Fundamental to the approach is the belief that a child’s early years from birth to six are the period when they have the greatest capacity to learn.
The Montessori teachers allow the children to work at their own pace, giving them time to develop physically, socially, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually in an unhurried atmosphere. There are special Montessori materials for the five main areas of the classroom:
Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, Culture.