"An education that suppresses the true nature of the child is an education that leads to the development of anomalies." (Maria Montessori, From Childhood to Adolescence,11)
Dr. Maria Montessori (1870 - 1952) was Italy’s first female physician. She held a doctorate in psychiatry, philosophy, and was a professor of anthropology. Through much observation and experimentation, Dr. Montessori created a method of education that is based on the developmental tendencies of human beings. The Montessori Method of teaching is a time tested, proven form of education.
A Montessori environment is designed for experiential learning. Everything is accessible to the children and is readily available for their use. The materials are beautiful and carefully prepared in order to spark curiosity and stimulate the desire to explore. They are self-correcting, thus fostering independence and auto-education. The opportunity to realize and correct one’s own mistakes enhances a student’s sense of self-confidence and independence.
A partnership with the natural environment is also vital to the development of elementary age children. Montessori children spend a great deal of time investigating the world around them. They discover how to care for, and live in community with all living things.
Education of the “whole self” is paramount, and therefore personal and interpersonal growth is cultivated as well. Multi-age grouping allows children to develop leadership skills, establish role models and mentors, and learn to live and work in harmony with others. Also, the children move freely throughout the classroom exploring, interacting, and making work choices. This helps to foster responsibility and self-discipline.
Ultimately, the Montessori Method is designed to provide an opportunity for children to explore, grow, and direct their own educational experience. This freedom leads to the development of joyful lifelong learners, ambassadors of peace, caretakers of the environment, and citizens of the world.