Philosophy & Methods
The educational philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori is both a philosophy of child development and a rationale for guiding such growth. It is based on two important developmental needs of children:
- The need for freedom within limits
- A carefully prepared learning environment that guarantees exposure to materials and experiences
Studies show that an important natural characteristic of the developing child is curiosity. Children need adults to expose them to the possibilities of their lives, but children must determine their response to all these possibilities. The Montessori method of education is designed to take full advantage of the child’s desire to learn and to develop their own capabilities. The prepared learning environment is safe, supportive and culturally diverse with materials that develop intelligence as well as physical and psychological abilities at each stage of development. By freely choosing his/her work from among these materials, the child develops independence, initiative and and a love of learning. This strengthens concentration and develops work habits that help the child form ‘thinking personality’. Through observation, the Montessori-trained teacher guides the child through each level of exploration, and the child achieves success through excellence and performance.
- Children are to be respected as different from adults and as individuals who differ from each other.
- Children possess an unusual sensitivity and intellectual ability to absorb and learn from their environment that are unlike those of the adult both in quality and capacity.
- The most important years of childrens growth are the first six years of life when unconscious learning is gradually brought to the conscious level.
- Children have a deep love and need for purposeful work. They work, however, not as an adult for the completion of a job, but the sake of an activity itself. It is this activity which enables them to accomplish their most important goal: the development of their individual selves – their mental, physical and psychological powers.
“The essence of independence is to be able to do something for one’s self. Adults work to finish a task, but the child works in order to grow, and is working to create the adult, the person that is to be. Such experience is not just play… it is work he must do in order to grow up.” – Dr. Maria Montessori