“Free the child’s potential, and you will transform [them] into the world.” - Maria Montessori
Dr. Maria Montessori was an Italian physician, educator, and scientist. She developed the pedagogy which later took her name while working with disadvantaged children in inner city Rome. Dr. Montessori observed that the children showed great interest in working with puzzles, preparing their own food, and caring for the classroom environment. She used her observations to design hands-on learning materials that would allow the children to focus and work peacefully for long periods of time.
The Montessori method encourages self-motivated learning and promotes growth for children in all areas of their development. Some tenets of Montessori pedagogy include:
Student choice: Children choose their own activities from a range of choices carefully prepared by trained Montessori teachers.
Mixed-age groupings: A mix of younger and older children in the same developmental stage allows students to advance seamlessly as they are ready for more challenging material, build authentic community, and learn from both teachers and peers.
Uninterrupted independent work periods: Children build attention, focus, and concentration, while learning at their own pace.
Montessori materials: Hands-on, concrete, self-correcting materials support engagement, curiosity, independence, and self-guided learning.
Comprehensive curriculum: Teachers are trained in a broad curriculum covering language, math, science, culture, art, music, movement, practical life skills, and social development.
Personalized learning: Teachers give lessons one-on-one or in small groups, allowing them to tailor each presentation to the skill level and readiness of individual children.
Developmental stages: Montessori looks different for different ages because it follows children's natural development.
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Montessori classrooms resemble the larger community, with a diverse, multi-age group of learners working at their own pace, and each with their own role to play as a valued member. Students who learn in Montessori classrooms grow up to become confident, self-directed learners, critical thinkers, and enthusiastic members of society who act with integrity and accountability.