The Montessori Method
Dr Maria Montessori was one of the first educators who were particularly observant of children and their needs. She manifested immense interest in working with the children that she devised a method so natural yet significant in a child’s development. She believed that education begins at birth and that the first six years of a child’s life is of crucial importance. Her passionate belief led her to years of assiduous research and the creation of a dynamic environment. Her main purpose was to provide the child with didactic materials to explore and develop his innate capabilities and in turn nurture his potential. So true is her motto,
‘Teach me to do it myself’
by cultivating a method of opportunity and permissible freedom within a prepared and self-educating ‘Children’s House’.
Her ideas aroused world-wide interest because her methods proved successful with children of varying abilities from varied social backgrounds. Montessori education was introduced in 1917, with one of the earliest schools being established by Alexander Graham Bell in his own home.
Many ideas originated by Dr. Montessori are now widely accepted by educators. For instance the importance of early childhood education, and of 'hands-on' learning methods for young children. Many public school systems in the U.S. have instituted Montessori programs.
The Montessori method includes the use of a wide range of specially designed teaching materials which form part of a "prepared environment," to enable children to learn individually at their own pace in a non-competitive atmosphere.