About Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori was an Italian doctor who studied children and how they learn. Montessori found that if you provide a child with the right environment and tools, the child has endless opportunities. Montessori stressed that children are like sponges and absorb everything around them. We are concentrating on the ages 2 1/2 to 6 which is an important time for children to be given an environment of exploration.
Maria Montessori discovered an interesting and effective educational method by experimenting with different materials and approaches to teaching and by observing activities that children of different age groups were drawn to. Her schools spread throughout the world and have been very successful. There are many Montessori preschools and elementary schools operating in Canada today.
The Montessori Method
• The Montessori program is based on freedom within boundaries. Montessori believed that the job of an educator is to provide an environment in which children can explore and meet their individual learning needs.
• Children are given presentations of materials individually or in small groups.
• Through the use of a free environment and an individual program, children become confident, fulfilled and successful.
• Montessori’s concrete materials are all designed to facilitate learning through the use of the hand. Montessori made use of the stereognostic sense, which is a combination of sight with touch and leads children to internalize their learning.
• Montessori materials build upon each other. Therefore, a material used in preschool lays a foundation for future learning.
• A feature of Montessori’s system is that she believed in sensitive periods for learning. The way in which children throughout the world are drawn to walk during the same age range is their sensitive period for walking. Montessori worked to discover the sensitive periods for different areas of learning. She found that the sensitive period for many areas is much younger than traditionally thought. For example, she believed that the sensitive period for learning to read is between the ages of 3 and 6.