The Montessori Method

Dr Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952) born in 1870 in Italy. Her original field of choice was medicine, where she had numerous years of experience both as a physician and a researcher. In 1907, When Maria Montessori graduated as Italy’s first female medical doctor she embarked on a career that led her to work with children excluded from the educational system. Through her observations and studies, she went on to develop a method of education which is now used throughout the world with children of all abilities, from birth to eighteen years old.

Maria Montessori founded Case del Bambini roughly translated as a Children’s House to care for children from one of the rough districts of Rome. She was so enraptured by what she observed as an overseer of the house that she gave up her medical pursuits and squarely focused on educating children. The foundation of what is now known worldwide as the Montessori system is built on her discoveries during those years.

This system can be summarised in just a few sentences:

‘Children are their own teachers. They develop better when they are given the freedom to interact fully with their environment’.

She put together her observations during those years into a training course and later published as her first book in 1909. The system slowly began to gain traction all around the world, with her work translated into more than twenty languages around the world.

By 1911, the Montessori system was so popular that public schools in Switzerland and Italy readily adopted her formula. There were also plans to adopt the Montessori system in the UK. However, while this plan was greeted with enthusiasm in the UK, it was still surrounded by a trail of controversy.

The method is based on self-directed activities, children work on their own and in small groups to discover and explore the stimuli from the environment prompting them to reach their own unique potential, Children within a Montessori classroom are supported by trained teachers and offered a wide range of age-appropriate, carefully designed activities both inside and outside the classroom.

Through use of these specially designed activities and materials the children work at their own pace to learn about all aspects of language, maths, music, science, the wider world, creative pursuits and much more. The children’s natural instincts will drive them on to repeat their chosen work and gain impressive levels of co- ordination, concentration, physical development, self-esteem and intellectual development.