Maria Montessori

May 15, 2015

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    Maria Montessori

  • Over a century ago, an educator, writer, lecturer and medical doctor by the name of Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952) developed a new approach for educating and nurturing young children. As the first woman medical doctor in Italy, Dr. Montessori became very involved in the care and education of young children.

    Through her observations and teachings, she concluded that every child is an individual learner and should be encouraged to work at their own pace on projects they initiate themselves. She believed that educating children was a way to create a better society. Her philosophy worked from the basic premise that children learn better when they are given the opportunity to choose and discover in their own way.

    This method of teaching started in Italy where Dr. Montessori lived. It continued to gain popularity throughout Europe in the early 1900s and today is practiced all over the world. Maria Montessori was a genius before her time. She believed a child’s mind from birth to six years was different from adults. She concluded that children effortlessly soak in everything in their culture and environment. She saw a tremendous need for children to have respectful, stimulating, nurturing and meaningful direction and guidance during what she called the “absorbent mind stage.”

    Today, over a century later, modern scientists are finding scientific data to support her discoveries. Recent brain research studies confirm that children learn best through choices and play-like activities. Children also learn best at their own pace, in a way that they enjoy. That’s why TMCMS provides children with plenty of choices each day so that children will continue to enjoy learning while having fun. We believe it is important for children to develop within themselves a lifetime love of learning.

  • Contemporary primary education derives its form largely from the pioneering Italian Educator Maria Montessori. It was Montessori who introduced to children’s classrooms such now commonplace accoutrements as child-size tables and chairs, lively colors and developmental learning activities. And it was she who first trained teachers to approach early education as a cooperative endeavor in which the kindergarten-age child should be guided but not lectured to or blamed.

    As her biographer Rita Kramer correctly observes, “Montessori belongs on any list on those whose existence shaped our century”. And, adds Kramer, “the fact that she was a woman, born in Italy thirty years before the end of the last century, makes that fact even more remarkable.” Italy’s first female doctor, Montessori developed an interest in children with learning disabilities, becoming convinced of the value of manipulative materials and age-appropriate sensory stimulation in helping them learn.

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    In 1907, she opened an experimental school in a Roman slum to test her principles on inner-city preschoolers without handicaps. They made remarkable progress in reading and writing. Explaining her system in the 1912 book The Montessori Method. Montessori denounced traditional schools where “children like butterflies mounted on pins are fastened each to his place.” Essentially, the Montessori method takes advantage of a child’s natural desire to learn with minimal intervention from a teacher. Enormously influential, the book launched an international educational reform movement.

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  • As a result, Maria Montessori was recognized and acclaimed as the world’s foremost female educator. Her first training course was held in 1909, two years after opening her first school. The Montessori movement has influenced early-childhood education to such a degree that there is probably not a day care centre or kindergarten classroom in America that does not incorporate at least some of Montessori’s techniques and progressive ideas into its curriculum.