Montessori is both a philosophy and psychology of child growth and development, and an educational system for guiding such growth.
Montessori is both a philosophy and psychology of child growth and development, and an educational system for guiding such growth. Carefully prepared learning environments are designed to meet the developmental stages of students from preschool through adolescence. Active, individualized learning is maintained through stimulating, multi-sensory teaching materials. The program is designed to recognize students self-motivation at all levels.
A Montessori program also recognizes that the most important years of growth are the first six years of life when unconscious learning is gradually brought to a conscious level. A Montessori program understands that children love to learn, that each child is unique, and that children develop at their own rate. Children should be encouraged, exposed, and challenged – not pushed.
Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome Medical School, became interested in education as a doctor treating children with special needs. After returning to the University for further study, she began her work with normal children in 1907 when she was invited to organize schools in a reconstructed slum area of San Lorenzo, Italy. Later, she traveled world-wide lecturing about her discoveries, and founding schools. She has written approximately fifteen volumes and numerous articles about education. She influenced the work of Piaget, Erikson, and numerous other child development specialists. Dr. Montessori died in 1952.
Montessori education was introduced to the United States in 1912, with one of the early schools being established by Alexander Graham Bell in his own home. According to the International Montessori Index there are an estimated 4000 Montessori schools in the US and 7000 worldwide