About Montessori Methodology
Maria Montessori was a 20th Century pioneer in education. After being the very first female doctor to graduate in Italy, she quickly turned her interests to the education of children, and began her lifelong study of the human development.
Maria Montessori's first work with children began in 1898 at the psychiatric clinic of the University of Rome, an asylum for children deemed "deficient and insane". She quickly realized that these children, left to themselves with no care, needed different teaching principles and methods. She therefore created a series of learning materials which would meet their specific needs, and she trained teachers to present these materials to them in a specific way.
The results she obtained through her work were extraordinary, and was proclaimed miraculous.
Soon, Maria Montessori decided to widen her work to "normal" children. The extent of her success was such that she realized that if her method worked so well with deficient children, it would surely also benefit all children.
In 1907, she opened her first school, Casa de Bambini, in San Lorenzo. Soon, many more schools opened in Italy, as in other countries, and her work became known as the "Montessori Method".
What is Montessori Education?
Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. In Montessori classrooms children make creative choices in their learning, while the classroom and the highly trained teacher offer age-appropriate activities to guide the process. Children work in groups and individually to discover and explore knowledge of the world and to develop their maximum potential.
Montessori classrooms are beautifully crafted environments designed to meet the needs of children in a specific age range. Dr. Maria Montessori discovered that experiential learning in this type of classroom led to a deeper understanding of language, mathematics, science, music, social interactions and much more. Most Montessori classrooms are secular in nature, although the Montessori educational method can be integrated successfully into a faith-based program.
Every material in a Montessori classroom supports an aspect of child development, creating a match between the child's natural interests and the available activities. Children can learn through their own experience and at their own pace. They can respond at any moment to the natural curiosities that exist in all humans and build a solid foundation for life-long learning.
- Provide a safe, engaging and nurturing environment for the child
- Promote trust in themselves and their world
- Develop confidence in their emerging abilities
- Develop gross motor coordination, fine motor skills, and language skills
- Offer opportunities to gain independence in daily task
A. Practical Life
These are activities that aim to the care of the person, of others and of the physical environment where they live in. These activities include tasks that are familiar to the child: washing, polishing, setting the table ,arranging flowers, etc. They also include activities of "grace and courtesy", which are part of all civilized people. Through these and other activities, children achieve coordination and control of movement and exploration of his/her surroundings. Children learn to complete a task from beginning to end, they develop their will, self-discipline, the capacity of concentration and self-confidence.
Children at this age learn through senses more than through their intellect. The sensorial materials are tools for children to refine each of their senses. Each material isolates a specific quality: smell, size, weight, texture, flavour, colour, etc. In this preschool age, when children are "bombarded" with sensorial information, these materials allow them to find order and meaning to the world, raising his/her capacity of perception, favouring observation and a sense of admiration for everything that surrounds him/her.
When the child enters an environment at age 3, they enrich the language that they had already acquired. They are capable of using it intelligently with precision and beauty, slowly realizing its properties. They learn to write, starting with their senses (hearing and touching), and as a natural consequence. they learn to read. As an extension of language activities, children learn about geography, history, art and music. These areas help the child to know his/her surroundings and to realize the place the child occupies in this world. They teach him to respect and love for his/her environment, and they create a sense of solidarity with all humanity and his/her habitat.
The materials help the child to learn and understand mathematical concepts when working with concrete materials that lead him/her intuitively to abstract concepts. They offer him/her sensorial impressions of the numbers and set the foundations for algebra and geometry.