"What IS the Montessori method,
and how can it help prepare my
child for educational success?"



The video shown below is a beautiful demonstration of the Montessori method as applied during the Primary (ages 3 to 6) years.

What so many attempt to describe can truly only be shown!




Maria Montessori


Maria Montessori was born in 1870 into an upper-class Italian family, a descendant of scholars and soldiers.  For a career, she was first attracted to engineering but, as if this would not have been a sufficient obstacle to overcome, she changed her mind and decided to study medicine.  She was of a very determined nature and not only was admitted to the all-male medical school, but became the first woman in Italian history to become a physician. 


The experience she was to gain from her years of work in medicine provided a rich background for her eventual life work in the education of children and her devotion to ending the war between child and adult. 

However, it would be ten years before she would come to the vocation of liberating children, which, at her death in 1952, left her one of the most honored and respected educators in the world.


How it all began...


Montessori was appalled by the conditions suffered by the helplessly insane children for whom it was universally accepted, there was "no hope".  Her devotion to humanity and her untiring determination refused to accept the easy pronouncements of "hopeless" and "impossible."  The more she worked with these children, the greater her certainty that these children had no need to be padlocked to idiocy, if only the right key were used to open the door to normality.  After two short years (1898 - 1900) of work with the "idiot" children, they were reading, writing and passing state school exams.


An amazed world applauded her efforts, but Montessori's thoughts  were already elsewhere, "I was searching for the reasons which could keep back the healthy and happy children of the ordinary schools on so low a plane, that they could be equaled in tests of intelligence by my unfortunate pupils."


The questions consumed her.  In 1906, having seen countless children bored, distracted, lulled, or repressed in the state schools, she was given an opportunity to establish the first classroom for a group of children who demonstrated that "spontaneous discipline," "explosion of spontaneous writing and reading" and "free social life" which so astounded the world.  In fact, the transformation was so great that there were many who were ready to believe that because she was a medical doctor, the real "miracle" must have been drugs! 


The facts are quite different.


Montessori Philosophy


The Montessori method of education grew out of Dr. Montessori's  observations of children.  In her clear observations she saw that the child from birth to six, is in a state she called, the Absorbent Mind.  In this state, the child constantly absorbs impressions from his/her environment and stores them for later use.


Dr. Montessori observed that every child passes through Sensitive Periods of Growth during which the child is particularly sensitive to acquiring certain impressions and skills. 


From birth to six, the child experiences sensitive periods of movement, language, reading, writing, music, order and development of the five senses.


Because the child's mind is absorbent, learning is a natural state of affairs.  There is no forcing necessary, as the child is naturally interested in, and capable of, drawing information and skills from the environment. 


If appropriate materials of learning are available to the child, the child will use them as instruments of growth.  Thus, the Montessori classroom is distinguished by its orderly shelves of appealing, child-oriented materials of learning.  This is called the Prepared Environment.

 

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