The Montessori ethos
Dr. Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952) has been one of the most influential pioneers in early childhood education this century. Her ideas have become known and recognised throughout the world and have significantly influenced mainstream education. Because of her medical background she approached education not as an educator or philosopher, but as a scientist. She use the classroom as her laboratory for observing children and for developing her ideas about the best ways of helping them achieve their full potential. Dr. Montessori put her ideas into practice, retaining and developing those that obviously worked.
So great was her success that she travelled the world, establishing schools and lecturing about her discoveries. She wrote numerous books and many articles. She died in Holland in 1952 at the age of 82. She left the legacy to the world of a method of education which combines a philosophy with a practical approach based on the central ideas of freedom for the child within a carefully planned and structured environment. She advocated that all children are intrinsically motivated to learn and that they absorb knowledge without effort when provided with the right kind of activities at the right time of their development.
The Montessori approach aims to allow children to grow naturally, to retain their individuality and develop their own personality. Our education principles are based round three universal characteristics of childhood:
• All children want to learn with freedom to investigate the world around them - they will become active learners.
• From birth to 6 years of age, children have an absorbent mind. Everything that - occurs in their life has a profound effect and therefore, the quality of early-experiences are of fundamental importance to their self-construction.
• Children pass through sensitive periods in their development.