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About Montessori

Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952)
First woman in Italy to qualify as a physician

 Maria Montessori worked in the fields of psychiatry, education and anthropology.  She believed that each child is born with a unique potential to be revealed, rather than as a “blank state” waiting to be written upon.

Maria Montessori was the first woman in Italy to qualify as a physician.  She worked in the fields of psychiatry, education and anthropology.  She developed an educational theory, which combined ideas of scholar Froebel, anthropologist Giuseooe Sergi, French physicians, Jean Itard and Edouard Seguin, with methods that she found in medicine, education, and anthropology.  Maria Montessori believed that each child is born with a unique potential.  “She suggested that teachers see themselves as social engineers, she enhanced the scientific qualities of education”.(The Montessori Method)

In 1907 she was given the opportunity to study "normal" children, taking charge of fifty poor children in the slums of San Lorenzo on the outskirts of Rome. The news of the unprecedented success of her work in this Casa dei Bambini "House of Children" soon spread around the world, people coming from far and wide to see the children for themselves. Dr. Montessori was as astonished as anyone at the realized potential of these children:

Dr. Montessori developed an educational theory, which combined ideas of scholar Froebel, anthropologist Giuseooe Sergi, French physicians Jean Itard and Edouard Sequin, with methods that she had found in medicine, education and anthropology.

Montessori had a revelation.  “I felt that mental deficiency presented chiefly a pedagogical, rather than mainly a medical problem”.  The children she was working with could not be treated in the hospitals, they needed to be trained in schools.  Given her new insight, she began to transfer her time towards perfecting education.  She wanted to use nature in the school in order to meet the real needs of children (Montessori Method, the 1912).

In her medical practice, her clinical observations led her to analyze how children learn, and she concluded that they build themselves from what they find in their environment; shifting her focus from the body to the mind.

Dr. Montessori's methods have continued to spread throughout the world. Her message to those who emulated her was always to turn one's attention to the child, to "follow the child".  

She sought to teach skills not by having the child repeatedly try it, but by developing exercises that prepare them.  These exercises would then be repeated:

Looking becomes reading; touching becomes writing

 (Montessori Method, the 1897).


Dr. Montessori believed that by
giving children some freedom in a specially prepared environment that was rich in activities, children learned to read on their own, chose to work rather than play most of the time, loved order and silence, and developed a real social life in which they worked together instead of competing against one another (Standing, 1952).

  1. The teacher must pay attention to the child, rather than the child paying attention to the teacher.
  2. The child proceeds at his own pace in an environment controlled to provide means of learning.
  3. Imaginative teaching materials are the heart of the process.
  4. Each of them is self-correcting, thus enabling the child to proceed at his own pace and see his own mistakes.
  5. If you were to look inside a Montessori classroom, you would get the impression of “controlled chaos” because each child would be quietly working at his private encounter with whatever learning task he or she chose (Montessori in Perspective 1966).

 The Montessori Method is based on the premise that the child wants to learn, and independence and order are key.  The child, given primary respect, makes spontaneous choices within a prepared environment, and is “free to create himself.”  She believed that children learned through exposure to cultural activities.  The teacher’s role was not to teach, but to prepare and arrange a series of learning opportunities which each child can move through instinctively.  Maria Montessori concluded that children build themselves from what they find in their environment. 

Her main contributions to the work of those of us raising and educating children are in these areas:

  • Preparing the most natural and life supporting environment for the child
  • Observing the child living freely in this environment
  • Continually adapting the environment in order that the child may fulfill his greatest potential -- physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Children learn best by interacting with concrete materials and by being respected as individuals. The teacher's role is primarily in organizing materials and establishing a general classroom culture. Most activities are individual, though the children interact in groups in some activities.

She believed that children learned through exposure to cultural activities. She said that the teacher's role was not to teach, but to prepare and arrange a series of learning opportunities which each child can move through instinctively.

The Montessori method is based on the premise that the child wants to learn, and independence and order are key.

"The child, given primary respect, makes spontaneous choices within a prepared environment, and is “free to create himself.”

   

……..educational revolution that changed the way we think about children more than anyone before or since?

IT TEACHES CHILDREN HOW TO LEARN

 

 

 

 

FIRST THE EDUCATION OF THE SENSES,

THEN THE EDUCATION OF THE INTELLECT.

 

 

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