Maria Montessori, Italy’s first woman doctor, invented a system of early childhood education based on her scientific observations of how the child constructs himself through interaction with his environment.
Her emphasis on the importance of the “prepared” environment created by the teacher offers the child the freedom to choose his work. This freedom—which is given when the child demonstrates the responsibility to use it wisely—allows him to remain with an activity until its purpose is accomplished. Working without artificial timelines allows him to engage in the spontaneous repetition of a skill so that it is refined; this freedom also creates in him the ability to concentrate for long periods of time and to feel the satisfaction of mastery.
In a Montessori environment, the teacher serves as a guide rather than as a traditional instructor. She continually observes the child, using these observations to give the next lesson so that he steadily progresses.
The multi-aged classroom gives every child regular opportunities to be the learner as well as the leader in the security of a home-like environment which is cared for by everyone in it, teacher and student alike. The Montessori classroom is ordered and beautiful, filled with materials that are aesthetically pleasing, materials that capture the imagination and assist in physical, academic and social development.
Montessori develops children who are responsible, creative, innovative, respectful and kind. Montessori children are truly the citizens of the future, equipped to face challenges with confidence and competence.