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Montessori Education

Maria Montessori with a Child"The child has to acquire physical independence by being self-sufficient; he must become of independent will by using in freedom his own power of choice; he must become capable of independent thought by working alone without interruption. The child's development follows a path of successive stages of independence, and our knowledge of this must guide us in our behaviour towards him. We have to help the child to act, will and think for himself. This is the art of serving the spirit, an art which can be practised to perfection only when working among children."
-Dr. Maria Montessori

The Montessori Method

The Montessori classroom is a highly organized, enriched environment designed to stimulate children's interests and facilitate their understanding and learning. While children learn at their own pace, they do so in a carefully structured manner, guided by a highly skilled AMI trained and Certified Montessori Teacher/Guide, using specially developed materials and programs designed for each stage of their mental, physical, social and emotional growth.

The curriculum includes math; language; sensorial materials to refine the senses; practical life; geography; science; botany; units of study; lessons in grace and courtesy; art; music and music appreciation; library; and Spanish. The basic idea in the Montessori philosophy of education is that every child carries unseen within him or her, the person that he or she will become. In order to develop the physical, intellectual and spiritual powers to the fullest, each child must have freedom – freedom to be achieved through order and self-discipline. The world of the child is full of sights and sounds that at first appear chaotic. From this chaos, the child must gradually create order and learn to distinguish among the impressions that assail his or her senses; slowly but surely gaining mastery of him or herself and his or her environment.

Dr. Montessori developed the "prepared environment," to provide a certain order that allows and invites the child to develop at his or her own speed, according to the child's individual capacities, in a non-competitive environment in her first school years. The method by which children are taught in the Montessori school might well be called "programmed learning." The structure of Montessori learning involves the use of many materials that the child may work with individually. At every step of his learning, the teaching material is designed to test his understanding and to correct his errors.

Dr. Montessori understood that the years between 3 and 6 are the years that a child most easily learns the ground rules of human behavior. These years can be constructively devoted to "civilizing" the child, freeing him through the acquisition of good manners and habits, to take his place in culture. The child who has had the benefit of a Montessori environment is freer at a later age to devote himself exclusively to the development of his intellectual faculties.

Dr. Montessori recognized that the only valid impulse to learning is the self-motivation of the child. Children move themselves toward learning. The teacher prepares the environment, programs the activity, functions as the reference person and exemplar, offers the child stimulation; but it is the child who learns and who is motivated through the work itself aided by the AMI trained Teacher, to persist in the chosen task. If the Montessori child is free to learn, it is because he has acquired from his exposure to both physical and mental order, an "inner discipline." This is the core of Dr. Montessori's educational philosophy. Patterns of concentration, "stick-to-it" commitment and thoroughness established in early childhood produce a confident and competent learner in later years. Schools have existed historically to teach children to observe, to think, to judge. Montessori introduces children to the joy of learning at an early age and provides a framework in which intellectual and social discipline go together.

Page Update: August 7, 2006