The Montessori method was developed in the early 1900’s by Italian physician, educator, professor, and innovator Dr. Maria Montessori. As one of the first female physicians in Italy, she utilized a scientific approach based on research and observation to develop her revolutionary “scientific pedagogy.” Working with disadvantaged students in a low-income neighborhood, Dr. Montessori’s educational strategies produced remarkable results and eventually garnered international attention. Her strategies were widely recognized as effective for children of all backgrounds because the Montessori environment cultivates a child’s natural desire to learn. The program she developed is a carefully designed, child-centered philosophy and set of learning materials that support and foster each individual child’s independence, curiosity, and passion for learning in a thoughtfully “prepared environment.”
Two basic Montessori principles are:
The Absorbent Mind: The unconscious and natural way in which young children gain information about their environment through the use of their senses. The absorbent mind is highly active from birth to age six and is marked by “sensitive periods” or phases of intense interest in learning a particular skill or concept.
The Prepared Environment: A developmentally appropriate classroom with materials that isolate and teach one skill or concept at a time. The child works through these materials in a sequence from most simple to complex. Children have a strong inner motivation to learn, if the materials are presented in a natural, logical, and unforced manner. Care is taken to allow independent activity for the children within reasonable limits.
To learn more about Dr. Maria Montessori and the Montessori method, visit the American Montessori Society (AMS) at: https://amshq.org/