“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.”
Maria Montessori, 1870-1952
Any attempt to encapsulate Montessori's pedagogy in a few short paragraphs would be folly. Afterall, here is a person who in 1897 was the first woman to graduate from the medical school in Rome. How to condense for the casual reader the work of a person who studied physics and mathematics, engineering, medicine, pediatrics, psychology and ethics? This is a woman who fought for women's rights in the 19th century, who was among the first to advocate for the education of the disabled, and who invented child-sized furniture. Foremost, Maria Montessori invented a system of education that has been practiced around the world for more than a century. Montessori dared to know that if we wish to maximize the human potential, we should look to children themselves to learn what and how to teach.
Montessori's pedagogy is rooted in her scientific point of view and her revelation that the child's curiosity is the best tool of education. She pioneered the idea that children should be led through curiosity to seek questions, answers and solutions. She recognized that methods should be adapted with respect to the child's "plane of development" and that we should approach the child with a view to his whole, integrated self.
After long study, Maria Montessori developed a broad curriculum that touches on every aspect of the universe. No subject is beyond investigation. As classroom directors of elementary grades, she instructs us to approach teaching through the imagination of the child, to show more than tell. Montessori teaches us to reveal but a glimpse--a dazzling glimpse--and leave children to thirst for more. Then we give them tools to find more. And more.
Montessori implored us to empower children with freedom, and to expect responsibility. She emphasized the importance of allowing children to form their own communities and work among themselves to establish rules of interaction through negotiation and mutual agreements. With the active and successful work of the hand and the intellect, Montessori knew that children would find fulfillment, motivation and drive. Her visionary recognition of the natural human tendencies led to methods which appeal to the human character, unique in its potential and contribution. Nurtured within the Montessori framework, children want to learn, want to grow. It is that desire that drives the engine of the child's real learning. All of this, Montessori called "Cosmic Education"; she believed it would contribute to world peace.
In her time, Montessori was a radical. Her vision has spread around the world to great renown, yet even today that vision is radical. Montessori's method gets at the root, at principles she recognized as immutable. Join us in learning more about Montessori and unleash your child's power to grow.
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