Montessori: is both a philosophy on education and a method of learning. Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was an educational innovator and Italy’s first female doctor. She developed her approach to childhood development based on specially designed learning materials and giving children a certain amount of freedom to explore.
Freedom with Limits: is an essential Montessori concept where each activity in the classroom contains a set and self-correcting process appropriate to varying age groups, and that respects the uniqueness of each child.
Whole Child Development: Montessori seeks to cultivate the whole child through activities that emphasize social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. Learning in the Montessori classroom is an enjoyable process that gives children a continual sense of accomplishment as they build self-confidence, sense of responsibility and the courage to take initiative.
The Prepared Environment: encourages self-learning and discovery and includes the classroom setup, the learning materials, and the general school atmosphere. The teacher’s role is to introduce the materials, prepare and maintain the environment in order to facilitate learning. Through this the teacher earns the trust of the child, and in turn, the child gains the confidence to try new work.
The Teaching Materials: Through her study and observation, Dr. Montessori developed teaching materials that contain sequence, are self-correcting, and engage all the senses. As children become absorbed in their “work” they develop mental dexterity and physical coordination through discovering ways to use their creativity in finding solutions.
The Teacher: is often referred to as a “guide” or “facilitator” whose role is setting the environment in which learning takes place. The teacher introduces, demonstrates and replenishes the materials, while also observing and recording students’ progress. She is the monitor of the child’s growth, constantly modeling proper behavior and acting as the essential link between the learning that takes place at school and how that learning continues at home.