Montessori is a method of education named after Dr. Maria Montessori. It is both a philosophy of child growth and development and a rationale for guiding such development.
Maria Montessori was born in 1870. In 1895, she became the first woman in Italy to obtain the degree of Doctor of Medicine. This background led Dr. Montessori to approach education more from the scientific level than the accepted academic standard. She observed children and was constantly testing and retesting the validity of her concepts-concepts that would contribute to a more natural growth of learning in students. She designed materials and techniques that advanced the method of educating all children-learning disabled through gifted-far beyond previous practice. To Dr. Montessori, education was a preparation for life, not merely a search for intellectual skills.
Dr. Montessori developed the prepared environment, which already possesses a certain order and allows children to learn at their own speed, according to their own capacities and in a noncompetitive atmosphere.
Dr. Montessori has recognized that the only impulse to learning is the self-motivation of the child. Children move themselves toward learning. The Directress prepares the environment, directs the activity, and offers the child stimulation, but it is the child who learns, who is motivated through work itself to persist in a given task.
If Montessori children are free to learn, it is because they have acquired an “inner discipline” from their exposure to both physical and mental order. Social adjustment, patterns of concentration, thoroughness and enthusiastic persistence established in early childhood, bring about a confident, competent and happy child and learner in later years.
The following poem is one of many taught to the children that is reflective of the Montessori Philosophy.
I offer you peace
I offer you love
I offer you friendship
I see your beauty
I hear your needs
I feel your feelings
My wisdom flows from a higher source
I salute that source in you
Let us work together
(from a workshop of Mahatma Gandhi)