The Montessori Method

Maria Montessori emphasised the importance of a child centred environment in which a child can develop physically, intellectually, linguistically, emotionally and spiritually.

“Sometimes very small children in a proper environment develop a skill and exactness in their work that can only surprise us.”  Maria Montessori

Freedom of choice, structure and order are essential in a Montessori classroom. Each Montessori classroom contains special materials: The Practical Life area has simple practical exercises like spooning, pouring, sieving etc. to help the development of concentration and hand-eye co-ordination. Sensorial exercises involve learning through each of the five senses e.g. wooden cylinder blocks varying in dimension, colour tablets, sound boxes, smelling bottles and touch boards of different textures. Maths materials are based around concrete learning, again through the senses; golden counting beads, sandpaper numerals etc. Language is taught through the use of phonetics. Sandpaper sounds are introduced first, followed by word building on the moveable alphabet. There are also nature, history and geography and culture sections in the classroom. The materials used are all self-correcting and so once demonstrated to a child he/she can choose to work for as long as he/she wishes on that piece of material and is, in effect, teaching him/herself.

“The senses, being explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge.” Maria Montessori

All furniture is child size and all shelves accessible to children. This allows them to choose their work freely.

“We must support as much as possible the child’s desires for activity, not wait on him, but educate him to be independent.” Maria Montessori

Each child develops at their own pace and the Montessori Method allows children to progress naturally with the help of one-to-one demonstrations by the teacher.

The Montessori Method of education encourages children to develop in all areas by providing a prepared environment and Teachers trained to facilitate this. Children become confident, independent, happy individuals.

“If teaching is to be effective with young children, it must assist them to advance on the way to independence.” Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori – A History

“I have studied the child. I have taken what the child has given to me and expressed it and that is what is called the Montessori Method.” Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori was born in Ancona, Italy in 1870. She was a woman well ahead of her time. Montessori was the first woman to graduate from medical school in Italy in 1896. Her interest in early education then took over and she opened the first ‘Casa dei Bambini’ or ‘Children’s House’ in Rome 1907. It was here she took in 50 young children from the San Lorenzo slum outside Rome. She spent time observing the children and how they naturally absorbed knowledge from their surroundings. The materials she developed were based on these observations of what the children did naturally, by themselves without any adult assistance. The success of her work with these children quickly spread and people came from near and far pleading with Montessori to teach their own children. Maria Montessori, along with the children’s parents, was amazed at the realised potential of these young impoverished children.

Montessori went on to win prizes for her method of teaching and was nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize.