At the turn of the 20th century Maria Montessori opened her first school in San Lorenzo Italy based on her earlier work with what she termed her “special “children. So encouraged with her observations and results of what these children could do, she began to share her discoveries with others, by publishing books and giving lectures. Thus the Montessori Method of Education was born.
Dr Maria Montessori’s philosophy, still in use today, is centred on the principles that all children have an innate desire to learn; they pass through sensitive periods in which they are able to acquire skills more readily; are autonomous self-learners; and should have the freedom to choose in order to learn spontaneously.
She also believed that the teacher should “follow the child” within a prepared and well seeded environment, that allows each child to work independently and support the enjoyment of self-discovery.
The teacher presents didactic materials of which the children are free to choose as many times as they wish, allowing the development of concentration, discovery, and finally mastering new concepts and skills independently for themselves through repetition, exploration and self-correction.
A typical, or indeed our own, Montessori classroom has apparatus which is organised under the following headings: “Practical Life”, “Sensorial”, “Language”, “Mathematics” and “Cultural Subjects”.