The Montessori Method of Education was devised by an Italian lady named Dr. Maria Montessori. She was born in Italy in 1870. During her lifetime, Maria Montessori was acknowledged as one of the world’s leading educators. The Montessori Method is based on years of patient observation on the nature of children. It has been successfully applied with almost every civilised nation no matter what race, colour, nationality or social background.
A child must put away an exercise before he takes another and he must not interfere in other children’s work. This philosophy allows the child freedom of choice and provides the means which he acquires a sense of order in everything he does. Montessori believes that children should have freedom of movement and freedom of choice and that children like order in their environment. Montessori approach to education is child centred and is based on mutual respect and co-operation. Montessori Method of education is based on a deep respect for the child’s personality, enabling him to develop without unnecessary influence or interference from the adult. It offers the child an environment where he can work at his own pace, without comparison with others in his group. It presents opportunities among children for mutual help rather than competitiveness.
The teacher in the Montessori classroom observes and directs the child. She is the link between the child and the environment. A Montessori teacher needs to know the precise way to teach children to use Montessori materials. She mingles among the children, respecting the concentration and varied learning approaches of the children. She observes and is always ready to direct and she keeps the classroom peaceful and calm. The teacher in a Montessori classroom is more of a guide and facilitator, respecting the concentration and varied learning approaches of the children.
Where possible, there is a control of error in the material, so that the child can correct his own mistakes. This promotes auto-education which is more effective than someone else telling the child that it is not correct. We refer to what the child does as ‘work’. There is no pressure no matter how subtle, to move faster or further than the child’s natural inclinations. Observation of the child in the environment is the basis for ongoing development. The teacher gives the child individual attention in each subject, according to his individual needs and requirements. The teacher works with a child, in order to show him the correct use of the equipment.
Montessori is about learning to balance responsibility with freedom of choice and it offers children the opportunity to realise their potential, in a non-competitive environment. It has shown the young child as a lover of work, spontaneously chosen by the child and carried out with deep satisfaction. Self-activity is a main principle of Montessori education.
The Montessori Method is based on developing the whole personality of the child. While working within the Montessori environment, he is gaining intellectually and there is a spontaneous natural development of his social, emotional, physical and independent needs. The creativity in the child is realised in curriculum activities from Art and Music to Maths and Science.