“We can only give to each child the chance to fulfill his potential possibilities.”
– Maria Montessori
Even though Dr. Maria Montessori was Italy’s first female physician, she shifted her focus to examining and better understanding the learning process of children. The Montessori method of education developed based upon Montessori’s clinical observations of children and the ease at which they naturally learn.
Montessori recognized that young children possess a remarkable ability to absorb the world around them. The uniqueness of each child is emphasized and fostered in our well-prepared classrooms, which are designed to promote the development of emotional, physical, intellectual and social needs.
One of the most distinguishing features of the Montessori method is its extensive use of manipulative items. Our classrooms are filled with these didactic materials that encourage a natural curiosity among children who are eager to choose activities in all areas of our curriculum. The result is confident, happy children that carry a love of learning with them for a lifetime.
Montessori: Learn more about Maria Montessori
What’s unique about the Montessori method?
NOTHING – Because Maria Montessori, the greatest educational genius since Froebel, has had such an impact on the education of young children all over the world. She was an Italian physician, born in 1870, but spent most of her life as an observer and teacher of young children in many European and Asian countries (the U.K., France, Holland, Italy and India to mention only a few).
Montessori pointed out that CHILDREN are the hope of the world and that given the right environment and opportunities to develop their full potential, they grow up into happy, responsible citizens, not only of their native lands, but of the world. She advocated the scientific study of the needs of children, who, she believed, would not grow up into warring adults if we can provide for every child, whatever his ability, the kind of environment that brings growth upward and outward toward self-enhancement.
Thus her theory is linked up with not only an educational revolution but with a social revolution centered around the needs of the very young child. It is a philosophy as well as an educational system. A system based on a profound respect for the child’s personality, helping him grow in spiritual, emotional and intellectual independence.
Nothing about the Montessori method is unique because most modern educationists have been deeply influenced by her philosophy and have absorbed a part of her method into their own. But this is the point. Only in a Montessori school is the whole of her method and philosophy applied.
Maria Montessori was actively involved in teaching and in the training of her teachers right up to the time of her death in 1952. Through her work she revealed the small child as a lover of work – intellectual work — not work forced on him, but work he chooses spontaneously and carries out joyfully. Although her methods did not take America by storm until after her death, it is now sought after by many leading American educationists and above all, by parents who find from experience that young children are wanting and ready to learn much more than they are allowed.
Because of this demand, more and more Montessori schools have been founded in and around New York City. These schools have, however, catered only to the young child from two – six. The idea for Montessori in the elementary classes arose because of the great need for the continuation of this program for these young children after the age of six, thus providing an ever increasing contribution to good education, now the children from the six – 14 year range have the opportunity to benefit from this method of education.
The Montessori method, however, is not a closed system, discovered once and henceforth to be applied unchangingly. It is flexible and our experienced teachers learnedly apply various teaching techniques giving wide dimension to a carefully planned curriculum. It is a method based on the principle of freedom in a carefully prepared environment suitable to the nature of the child and catering to his need to learn by doing, thereby offering him a maximum spontaneity and enabling him to reach a higher level of scholastic attainment. In this environment discipline arises from within the child, and does not have to be forced from without — for liberty is the basis for real discipline — self-discipline.
The environment and materials are such that enable the teacher to teach each child individually in each subject guiding him according to his interests, aptitudes and needs. Each child works at his own pace for our teachers respect the inner rhythms of each child’s soul. This and the fact that we have ungraded classes (2 – 6 yrs., 6 – 9 yrs., 9 – 14 yrs.), does away with children competing with each other, and presents endless opportunities for mutual help. Teachers and children plan their own use of time, and the environment is such that no child feels inferior.
The Montessori method of education develops the whole person — not merely his intellect, but also his powers of deliberation, initiative and independent choice. Group harmony is vital to individual achievement. By living as a free member of a real social community the pupil’s ability to function in a group is developed and he acquires those fundamental social qualities which form the basis of good citizenship — a respect for the dignity of others thereby gaining respect for oneself. Achievement, both academically and socially, is fostered by adjusting the curriculum to the individual for it is growing that is satisfying, not perfecting.