What is Montessori

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Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator acclaimed for her educational methods that build on the way children naturally learn. She realized that certain environments can have a huge impact on how children learn and developed a method of teaching based around this idea.

The Environment:

The environment is well planned and child-centred. The children are given freedom to choose work based on their developmental needs and interests.
A Montessori environment promotes exploration, makes use of sensory approaches and offers children a lot of choice in practical activities.
The activities are designed to enable the child to experiment and allows the child freedom to follow their interests.
Children are natural learners and explorers, they work for the joy of the process rather than for the end result.
The child will have a need to repeat activities over and over until that need is fulfilled thus perfecting their skills developed during the activity.

The Philosophy:

Montessori saw that children learn best by doing and that happy self-motivated learners form positive images of themselves as confident, successful people. She created specially designed resources to foster independence and a love for learning from an early age.
The Montessori approach aims to develop the whole child. Maria Montessori believed that the most important period in a child's life is from birth to six years. It is during this time that the child possesses an 'absorbent mind'. This enables the child to learn effortlessly as they interact with their environment. Most Montessori activities have a 'control of error' (this means they are self-correcting). The child will realize their mistake without needing to ask an adult.
The Montessori method is a learning process that empowers the children to be independent. It is preparing the child for life.

Order:

Order, routine and structure in the environment make children feel secure and safe. The environment is designed to be accessible for the child so they have maximum freedom of choice and movement to develop their independence. As the child develops and perfects their skills, they will also develop their self-discipline. The child will recognize that there is a place for every object in the environment and will learn to play with and respect the various materials.

Periods of Sensitivity:

Montessori noticed that children move through certain periods of sensitivity. It is during these periods that the child learns and focuses intensely on a particular interest. When it is clear that an activity has completely held a child's attention, if left to follow this natural interest the child could achieve much more than expected. Repetition refines the senses, encourages focus, breeds independence, and develops confidence in our work and ourselves.

“Repetition is the secret of perfection”
– Dr. Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child