The Montessori system of education was founded in the early 1900s by a brilliant Italian physician Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952). Her work with young, underprivileged children in Rome inspired an educational philosophy based on human development (from birth to 18 years) and education practices now used the world over from U.S., Europe and Asia to Africa for over 100 years. The Montessori Method encourages respect for oneself, others and the environment. The fundamental motivation of the Montessori approach is to prepare the student for a lifetime of learning by promoting independence, inquiry, and self-education.
What is Montessori?
Dr. Maria Montessori profoundly felt that children have sensitive periods in which they are particularly able and interested in acquiring a certain knowledge or skill. Montessori believed the only way to learn is by “doing”. At each stage materials were developed to correspond with the child’s cognitive growth. Children absorb knowledge through interacting through their environment. It is very orderly and sequential allowing the children to become motivated from within to reach their fullest potential. It is based on a profound respect for the child allowing freedom within a strong structure. Each child works at his own pace allowing for a natural progression of development in an unhurried atmosphere. Classrooms are materials-based, allowing the child many opportunities to initiate activities, to explore and to practice. The teachers are not the focus, but rather facilitators and partners in the process. Our teaching fosters the development of the whole personality of the child, not merely his intellectual faculties but also the social, emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual.
Authentic Montessori classrooms are very inviting, with a unique set of materials to facilitate the children’s learning. We offer multi-age groupings, usually in three-year spans. The children stay within the same class their entire time. The class becomes a “community,” with abundant learning and support between older and younger children. The materials are child sized, self-correcting and organized to promote independence and success. There is an established set of ground rules for the class, which are followed by everyone (including the teachers, who act as role models for the children). These basic rules of conduct encourage children to treat themselves, others, and the environment with respect and compassion. They are encouraged to initiate their own activities and to work toward completion and mastery with responsibility for the classroom materials. Older children are expected to complete assigned tasks in a timely manner. Our classrooms bring out the best in children, allowing them to follow their own natural course of development, yet helping them to acquire valuable life skills.
Students graduate from our Montessori classrooms as socially responsible and confident individuals. They are strong problem solvers and critical thinkers. Because they’ve worked in a noncompetitive environment they are cooperative learners and work well in a group. They are well prepared academically, socially and emotionally. Finally, our classrooms support Peace Education. Our students become moral citizens who have flourished in a culturally diverse environment that respects and values all individuals.