January 6, 1907 Dr. Maria Montessori opened her first Casa dei Bambini in San Lorenzo, Italy. To walk into a Montessori classroom today, there are few changes. Many of the materials and exercises you will see were first developed by Maria Montessori.
There are four essential elements to the method:
- 1. a carefully constructed classroom
- 2. didactic materials
- 3. a well-trained a teacher
- 4. a pedagogy that respects the child as an intelligent individual.
The room is designed to be inviting but not overwhelming. There is “liberty in a prepared environment”. The classroom is structured, yet the children have the freedom to make independent choices throughout the day, working independently or collaboration with peers. Self-esteem and confidence grow and social skills are fostered as children explore with the materials and master important developmental skills.
The didactic materials are based on the Montessori’s pedagogy and aid the learning process. Spontaneous and self-directed learning is fostered in this non-competitive environment. The materials are attractive, child-sized, accessible and allow for lots of hands-on manipulation as the children perform purposeful work.
The most important tool for a Montessori teacher is observation. Through careful observation, the Montessori teacher follows the individual interests and needs of each child, providing lessons and guidance when necessary.
The Montessori pedagogy recognizes each child as a unique individual with his/her own potential and abilities, and allows a child to work at his/her own pace. Dr. Montessori observed children possess what she called “Sensitive Periods”. They are times early on in a child’s life when it is extremely easy to learn specific skills. Between the ages of 0-6 years, she also found children have an “Absorbent Mind”, whereby they absorb information like a sponge. These two traits are the basis of the Montessori pedagogy.
For more information about the Montessori Method and our school, you are welcome to contact us to arrange an observation in one of our Casa or Elementary classrooms.