Maria Montessori developed the most compassionate and adaptable educational system. She sought to make the parents and educators of the world understand the vital importance of children’s sensitive periods of learning in their early years.
“Education is a natural process which develops spontaneously. It is not acquired merely by listening to words, but through experiences in which the child acts on his environment.”
Children flourish in a nurturing environment where an abundance of interesting age-appropriate materials help them discover and understand the world around them. A pronounced joy of learning and self-confidence emerges when the needs of the child are fulfilled in successful learning experiences. Children gain self-esteem and learn to interact with others in a non-competitive learning environment.
How Does It Work?
This system of education is both a philosophy of child growth and a rationale for guiding such growth. It is based on the child’s developmental needs for freedom with limits and a carefully prepared environment which guarantees exposure to materials and experiences through which to develop intelligence as well as physical and psychological abilities. It is designed to take full advantage of the self-motivation and unique ability of children to develop their own capabilities. The child needs adults to expose him to the possibilities of his life but the child himself must direct his response to those possibilities. Premises of Montessori education are:
- Children to be respected as different from adults, and as individuals who differ from each other.
- The child possesses unusual sensitivity and mental powers for absorbing and learning from his environment that are unlike those of the adult both in quality and capacity.
- The most important years of growth are the first six years of life when unconscious learning is gradually brought to the conscious level.
The child has a deep love and need for purposeful work. He works, however, not as an adult for profit and completion of a job, but for the sake of the activity itself. It is this activity which accomplishes for him his most important goal: the development of himself-his mental, physical, and psychological powers.
Formation of Concepts
Montessori placed great emphasis upon the education of the senses. The senses require training if they are to become effective in helping the individual acquire further education.
The initial purpose of the Montessori materials is to develop independence, self-confidence, concentration, coordination, and order. The child is lead to the development of his senses in perceiving differences, contrasts and similarities clearly and accurately.
Learning with the materials begins with concrete experiences, which are structured to gradually lead to greater abstractors.
The materials have a built-in control of error and a child will repeat theses jobs many times to develop his senses.
The materials deal with different senses that the child possesses:
- Visual (Sight)
- Tactile (Touch)
- Auditory (Sound)
- Gustatory (Taste)
- Olfactory (Smell)
- Steregnostic (Geometric Solids)
- Thermic (Temperature)
- Baric (Weight)
- Chromatic (Color)
Please click here to read some frequently asked question about a Montessori education.