“Education should no longer be mostly imparting of knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentialities.”
– Maria Montessori
Montessori is a method of education started by Italian physician Maria Montessori in the early 1900s. Today, Montessori schools are found throughout the world and may go through high-school level. Still, Montessori preschools are more common than Montessori schools for the upper levels. Montessori principles can easily be used at home as well as in schools.
But, to only define Montessori as a method of education doesn’t do it justice. The Montessori Method was developed through observation of the child, with the individualized needs of each child as a primary focus.
Montessori education is devoted to helping each child achieve his or her potential and develop a lifelong love of learning. An attractive and orderly prepared environment, unique learning materials, and special way of viewing and teaching the child are essential parts of Montessori education.
The teacher in a Montessori class acts as a source of guidance and gentle direction. Whether the child is ready to learn how to tie shoes, how to differentiate shades of color, how to read, or how to understand the decimal system, the child determines the major educational direction. While the children develop inner direction and discipline, the teacher provides freedom within limits.
Although acceleration of learning may occur with Montessori education, it’s a by-product rather than the goal. The goal is to provide carefully prepared conditions which foster love of learning, independence, self-discipline, and a joyous response to life. The manner in which subjects are taught is one which simply meets the child’s need for knowledge and self-development.
As Maria Montessori said:
” . . . the child works in order to grow, and is working to create the adult, the person that is to be.”