Born in Chiaravalle in the Province of Ancona in 1870, Maria Montessori was the first Lady Doctor in Italy, having graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Rome in 1896. Through her medical practice, Dr. Montessori came in direct contact with young children and began to study their development. Her intensive study led her to realize that the interaction between the child and his environment led to the construction of the child’s personality.
Her approach to education originated from her own background in the sciences, and her thoroughness of study based on an observation of children from different backgrounds in several countries around the world led her to spot the universality of the laws of human development.
• Children are to be respected as different from adults and as individuals who differ from each other.
• The child possesses an unusual sensitivity and intellectual ability, unlike those of the adult, to absorb and learn from his environment, both in quality and quantity.
• The first six years of a child are the most important years of a child's growth when unconscious learning gradually emerges to the conscious level.
Positive attitude towards school : Most learning activities are individualized, so that a child engages in a learning task that appeals to her and builds a positive attitude toward learning.
Developing self-confidence : Tasks are designed so that each new step is built upon what the child has already mastered. This removes the negative experience of frequent failure, contributing to the child's healthy emotional development.
A habit of concentration : The ability to listen attentively to what is said or demonstrated presupposes effective learning. Through a series of absorbing experiences, the child forms habits of extended attention, increasing her ability to concentrate.
An abiding curiosity : Opportunities are offered for the child to discover qualities, dimensions and relationships amidst a variety of stimulating learning situations thereby developing curiosity, an essential element in creative learning.
Initiative and persistence: The child is surrounded with materials and activities geared to her inner needs so that she becomes accustomed to engaging in activities on her own, resulting in a habit of initiative.
Since her death an interest in 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". It is because of this basic tenet, and the observation guidelines left by her, that Dr. Montessori's ideas will never become obsolete.
Many people, hearing of the high academic level reached by students in this system of education, miss the point and think that Montessori math manipulative (as an example) is all there is to the Montessori method. It is easy to acquire materials and to take short courses to learn to use them, but the real value of Montessori takes long and thorough training for the adult.The potential of the child is not just mental, but is revealed only when the complete "Montessori method" is understood and followed. The child's choice, practical work, care of others and the environment, and above all the high levels of concentration reached when work is respected and not interrupted, reveal a human being that is superior not only academically, but emotionally and spiritually, a child who cares deeply about other people and the world, and who works to discover a unique and individual way to contribute. This is the essence of real "Montessori" work today.
What Maria Montessori Says:
“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”
“Free the child's potential, and you will transform him into the world”
“If help and salvation are to come, they can only come from the children, for the children are the makers of men.”