Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator. She emphasized self-potential and developed multi-sensorial, self-correcting. materials. Maria Montessori believed the child’s mind from birth to six years is quite different from the adult’s and labeled it “an absorbent mind.” She saw the children as constantly unfolding and developing, and saw the adults that were trying to “train” them as an obstacle to their progress.
The Montessori Philosophy
Within the Montessori framework the child develops freely in individuality and self-confidence. Children are given the opportunity to become independent and care for themself in a responsible way.
The child loves concentration.
The teacher in this prepared environment respects the child’s concentration and allows the student to complete an inquiry or exploration.
The child loves repetition.
Montessori allows this freedom, with respect, as the child perfects his/her movements.
The child loves order, but the adult provides a toy box that offers nothing but disorder. The prepared environment offers shelves with neatly arranged activities always in the same place.
Children prefer work (learning) to play (toys).
A child’s “work” is his preparation for life. Hopefully, when he/she matures he/she will enjoy his/her work, for he/she has perfected what he/she likes to do best.
Children do not need rewards.
Accomplishment and creativity are reward enough. A child is self-motivated at this age and with the right environment will remain so as he/she grows.
Children love silence.
The Montessori environment creates an awareness of silence. His/her discoveries move toward providing a practical way to a peaceful coexistence with other children.
Maria Montessori developed materials for refining the senses. The “sensorial” materials help the child to discriminate sound, color, size, shape, smell, and touch. The materials in the classroom area called “practical life” address the child’s love of movement, concentration and repetition. Dr. Montessori’s math equipment is regarded as the most complete available system. Reading materials are hand-made and can be supplemented at home.