What is Montessori

Montessori Method of education is an approach developed by Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator. The roots of Montessori Method dates as far back as 1897, but the current Montessori curriculum in America has been popular since the 1960’s.

The method is firmly rooted in emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and deep respect for a child’s natural physical, psychological and social development. The following characteristics are prevalent in a Montessori classroom:

  • Children of varying ages – 2.5 to 6 – engaged in each classroom
  • Students have a choice of activities within a prescribed range of options
  • A model of discovery, where the student learns concepts by working with objects rather than by direct instruction
  • Specialized educational material developed by Maria Montessori and her collaborators
  • Trained teachers in Montessori philosophy

Montessori observed 4 planes in human development, the first plane covering birth to approximately 6 years of age. This approach to early childhood education is fundamentally a model of human development. A Montessori classroom allows for free activity within a prepared environment that is tailored to basic human characteristics (especially that of younger children). The expected function of the classroom is to allow the child to develop in all areas according to the child’s inner psychological directives. The class room is governed by a teacher fully trained in Montessori Method of education, but the teacher’s job is more of presenting material to the student and less of direct instruction.

Maria Montessori firmly believed that education had a role in maintaining world peace, in that children allowed to grow according to their inner laws of development would be more inclined to a peaceful and enduring civilization. She was nominated 6 times for the Nobel Peace Prize in a three year period ranging from 1949 to 1951.