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What is Montessori?

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

Montessori is an educational method that was created by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 1900s in Italy. As a physician, she made studies on human development which led her to create a unique and particular vision of the human being.

This alternative educational approach is characterized by providing a well-prepared environment with rich hands-on concrete materials to aid Child’s development. 

The method emphasizes not only the cognitive aspect of development, but also physical, social, emotional, and moral.

The Montessori method is based on observation and has the individual needs of each child as its primary focus. It aims to help children to develop and achieve their potentials while bursting their natural curiosity about the world.

Montessori fosters independence, self-discipline, love of learning and a positive attitude towards life. Freedom with limits are elements that will allow children to attend their needs in a harmonious way. Such limits and freedom need to be very consistent and clear, so they can help children to gain confidence and inner discipline.

In a prepared Montessori environment, children are free to work with a variety of materials called “works”.  Each of these activities has a specific purpose that will potentiate different capabilities and knowledge in the child. All activities are built on the next one, and they follow sequential steps that will turn children into active thinkers.

The concrete materials are scientifically designed to follow the natural path of a Child’s development. Children explore the world around them through these materials that give them the opportunity to work according to their own interests. The result promotes long periods of concentration which are key in the learning process. The concrete materials also contain their own control of error, so children are able to recognize and correct themselves without the intervention of adults which will help them achieve a sense of responsibility on their own learning. 

But it is not enough to have a well-prepared environment to fulfill the process of learning. The adult needs to prepare himself/herself to become the model who will guide the child through his development. It is through observation, that the adult will understand and recognize the particular needs and way of learning of each child. 

In Montessori, it is the child who determines the major educational direction. While the children develop inner direction and discipline, the adult serves as a model to children and provides freedom within limits.

“Scientific observation then has established that education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment.” 

- Maria Montessori - 

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