Dr Maria Montessori
History of the Montessori Method
Dr Maria Montessori was a physician, educator, and innovator who studied psychology, philosophy and anthropology. She was the first woman to graduate from medicine from the University of Rome in 1986 and after being appointed assistant doctor at the psychiatric clinic at the University of Rome, she became interested in the educational problems of intellectually disabled children - an interest that led her to the development of the Montessori Method.
In Rome, 1907 Maria opened the first Montessori School (Case de Bambini) for children aged 3-6 years. Her educational approach built on the way children naturally learn and encompassed what she called the "prepared environment"; a classroom thoughtfully designed to meet the specific needs of each child.
The first Case de Bambini "Children's House", helped preschool children in the San Lorenzo slum district of Rome achieve quality education that offered a different approach to the conventional classroom. Maria's successful teaching methods led to the opening of more Montessori schools and Maria travelled across the globe lecturing, writing and providing teaching training programs across India, the United States and Europe.
Maria Montessori's method sought to "teach children by supplying concrete materials and organizing situations conducive to learning with these materials." The children's engagement in certain simple materials, such as beads arranged in graduated-number units for pre-mathematics instruction or small slabs of wood designed to train the eye in left-to-right reading movements, revealed an interest and attention not previously thought possible. The children worked spontaneously with these materials in focused sessions of between 30-60 minutes, and after such a period, they appeared refreshed and calm. The learning materials Maria used were designed specifically to encourage individual initiative and self-direction, and children would learn to work in groups through shared housekeeping chores, instilling in them a sense of community.
Self-education is central to Montessori Philosophy. Maria believed that the role of a teacher was to "activate a child's own natural desire to learn" and that one should not simply tell a child how to do something, but show them, and then give them space and time to master the skills themselves. Today, there are 20,000 Montessori schools across the globe as the Montessori method continues to be a successful approach in helping young minds thrive.
If you would like to learn more about Maria Montessori's teaching methods in the early learning classroom, RSVP below to one of our parent information evenings.