The Philosophy
Dr. Maria Montessori was a woman who broke new ground in many ways. Born in 1870, she became the first female physician in Italy at a time when women in the medical field were unheard of. Her medical practice and observations paved the way for her far-reaching educational reforms. She defined education as "aid offered to life" and the role of the teacher as a facilitator who guides the child's development.

Her discovery of the limitless ability of children to absorb information from their environment through their senses, and their tireless interest and spontaneity in doing work, inspired her to establish a new system of education. She was inspired by the simple but profound truth that "children teach themselves".

Every piece of equipment and every activity Montessori developed was based on scientific observation and precise experimentation. Her aim was to set up a system of education that aided the natural process of cognitive and psychological development in children. She felt that children allowed to develop according to their inner laws of development would give rise to a more peaceful and enduring civilization.

Montessori education extends from infancy to adolescence. It comprises 4 different programs – Toddler (birth – 3yrs); Primary (3 – 6 yrs); Elementary (6 – 12 yrs) & Adolescent (12 – 15 yrs). Maria Montessori passed away in 1952, but her work continues to exist in schools all over the world.

The Three Aids to Montessori Education

"Help me help myself” is the basis of Montessori education. To this end, the approach has three unique aspects:

The Prepared Environment
The classroom is designed to facilitate maximum independent learning. It is a place of beauty with child sized furnishings carefully structured and ordered by the adult to enhance the child's freedom. The child works and interacts with children of mixed ages. The atmosphere is one of helpfulness and cooperation. It is a calm, orderly space constructed to meet a child's needs.

The Montessori Materials
The materials used are scientifically designed to aid development in a holistic manner. They engage the child in purposeful activity. They are arranged invitingly and within easy reach of the child. The materials stimulate independent exploration. They are self-correcting and increase in complexity as the child masters each process. The activities build intelligence, independence and analytical thinking. They give the child a sense of accomplishment.

The Montessori Educator/Teacher
The adult observer is a child advocate and guardian. She prepares the environment and materials, and connects the child with them. Since Montessori education is based on the inner motivation of the child, it is the teacher's role to work with this motivation in ways that will enhance the child's development. This is called "following the child". The teacher never unnecessarily interferes or corrects. Montessori adults often stand back while the child is working to allow the child the satisfaction of his own discovery.
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