Dr. Maria Montessori founded the Montessori Method in Europe in the early 1900’s. As a physician and educator, she observed that children flourished in a stimulating and orderly environment. She believed that early childhood education should cultivate a child’s natural desire to learn. Dr. Montessori developed materials that would control children’s movements, be self-correcting, manipulative and help to develop their intellect. The Montessori educational program is offered worldwide today and is the result of many years of research and observation of children.
The basic idea in the Montessori philosophy of education is that all children carry within themselves the person they will become. In order to develop physical, intellectual, and spiritual potential to the fullest; the child must have freedom – a freedom to be achieved through order and self-discipline.
Dr. Montessori has recognized that the only valid impulse to learning is the self-motivation of the child. Children move themselves toward learning. The teachers prepare the environment, direct the activity and offer the stimulation, but it is the child who learns, who is motivated through work itself to persist in a given task. If Montessori children are free to learn, it is because they have acquired an inner discipline from their exposure to both physical and mental order. This is the core of Dr. Montessori’s philosophy. Patterns of concentration and thoroughness, established in early childhood produce a confident, competent learner in later years. Montessori education teaches children to observe, to think, to judge. It introduces children to the joy of learning at an early age and provides a framework in which intellectual and social discipline go hand-in-hand.