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Montessori Education

Self-construction, liberty, and spontaneous activity

 

Montessori education is fundamentally a model of human development, and an educational approach based on that model. The model has two basic principles. First, children and developing adults engage in psychological self-construction by means of interaction with their environments. Second, children, especially under the age of six, have an innate path of psychological development. Based on her observations, Montessori believed that children at liberty to choose and act freely within an environment prepared according to her model would act spontaneously for optimal development.

 

Prepared environment

Montessori's education method called for free activity within a "prepared environment", meaning an educational environment tailored to basic human characteristics, to the specific characteristics of children at different ages, and to the individual personalities of each child. The function of the environment is to allow the child to develop independence in all areas according to his or her inner psychological directives. In addition to offering access to the Montessori materials appropriate to the age of the children, the environment should exhibit the following characteristics:

  • An arrangement that facilitates movement and activity

  • Beauty and harmony, cleanliness of environment

  • Construction in proportion to the child and his/her needs

  • Limitation of materials, so that only material that supports the child's development is included

  • Order

 

Planes of development

Montessori observed distinct periods, or "planes", in human development.

 

First plane

From birth to around six years of age. The child undergoes striking physical and psychological development, he is seen as a concrete, sensorial explorer and learner engaged in the developmental work of psychological self-construction and building functional independence. 
Absorbent mind: Montessori described the young child's behaviour of effortlessly assimilating the sensorial stimuli of his or her environment, including information from the senses, language, culture, and the development of concepts with the term "absorbent mind". She believed that this is a power unique to the first plane, and that it fades as the child approached age six.
Sensitive periods: Montessori also observed periods of special sensitivity to particular stimuli during this time which she called the "sensitive periods". In Montessori education, the classroom environment responds to these periods by making appropriate materials and activities available while the periods are active in the young child. 
Normalization: Finally, Montessori observed in children from three to six years old a psychological state she termed "normalization". Normalization arises from concentration and focus on activity which serves the child’s developmental needs, and is characterized by the ability to concentrate as well as "spontaneous discipline, continuous and happy work, social sentiments of help and sympathy for others."

 

Second plane

From around six to twelve years old. During this period, Montessori observed physical and psychological changes in children, and developed a classroom environment, lessons, and materials, to respond to these new characteristics. Physically, she observed the loss of baby teeth and the lengthening of the legs and torso at the beginning of the plane, and a period of uniform growth following. Psychologically, she observed the "herd instinct", or the tendency to work and socialize in groups, as well as the powers of reason and imagination. Developmentally, she believed the work of the second plane child is the formation of intellectual independence, of moral sense, and of social organization.

 

Education and peace

As Montessori developed her theory and practice, she came to believe that education had a role to play in the development of world peace.She felt that children allowed to develop according to their inner laws of development would give rise to a more peaceful and enduring civilization. From the 1930s to the end of her life, she gave a number of lectures and addresses on the subject, saying in 1936,

 

“Preventing conflicts is the work of politics; establishing peace is the work of education.”

 

She received a total of six nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize in a three-year period: 1949, 1950, and 1951

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Maria Montessori (1870-1952)

 

She was the first female doctor in Italy to obtain a degree in psychology, philosophy and natural sciences.

 

She was dedicated to study how to improve human potential on Earth by observing the natural, physical and mental development of the child from birth and even before...

 

"We cannot produce geniuses, we can only give each individual the chance to fully utilize its potential capacity to become an independent, calm and balanced human being " Maria Montessori .

 

She founded a pedagogy based on the need of the child to self educate himself.

 

Dr. Montessori said that the goal of early childhood education is not to fill the child with facts but rather to allow him to cultivate his own desire to learn.

 

She created the "children's house" in 1907, and developed her teaching method with precise and progressive material that children could handle, each according to their own pace.

 

Her method had so much success that numerous schools in Italy emerged as in Europe and worldwide (kindergarten, primary and even for young people up to 18 years).

 

She died in 1952, leaving us a legacy of hundreds of schools in every continent as well as many books.

Montessori Education

 

  • Respect the child as a whole,

  • To encourage their mental and physical development,

  • Children are treated with care

  • The school respects the child's oun learning pace, child centered education

  • Prepared environment


The child is offered the opportunity to grow in a prepared environment in which he can act according to his oun needs, abilities, interests, that are essential for his development.

 

"A truly educated individual continues learning long after the hours and years he spends in the classroom because he is motivated from within by a natural curiosity and love for knowledge".  M. Montessori.