Dr. Maria Montessori formulated the Montessori philosophy during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Her work in the fields of education, psychology, sociology and philosophy is recognized by students of child development worldwide as unsurpassed in its ability to help children achieve their full potential, not only in the academic sense but also in terms of serenity.
Her educational philosophy, as practiced in schools today, was documented from her keen observation of the many children with whom she had worked. The apparatus she developed, was not only designed according to the child’s developmental needs, but are also self- correcting, thereby requiring less unnecessary interference of the ‘teacher’ in the child’s inner program of learning by himself.
Children are innately interested in learning about the world around them and through their natural curiosity are able to develop themselves. By providing an environment that supports natural development, Montessori education enables children to develop the fundamental capacities that they need to become happy and fulfilled adults who contribute to society.
Authentic Montessori environments encompass the following principles:
Mixed age groups which not only offer a wide range of activities to spark children’s interest but also enable children to learn from others and learn by helping others.
Freedom for children to work at their own pace, without interruption, choosing from a range of activities that are developmentally challenging and appropriate.
Exploration is encouraged so that children find things out for themselves, make mistakes and correct them independently.
Respect for each child as an individual personality with unique talents.
Respect for others, the community and the environment.