"Within the child lies the fate of the future"
Dr. Maria Montessori
Her Life & Legacy
Dr. Maria Montessori was born on August 31, 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy. With her great efforts, she was among Italian's first female medical students and later a female physician - unusual for Italian women of that time.
During her early medical practice, she focused on psychiatry and soon started having an interest in education. She attended many classes on pedagogy and education theories. Her studies led her to scientifically observe, study, and finally experiment to find the teaching method that worked best for disabled children.
On January, 1907, Dr. Maria established the first Montessori School - Casa Dei Bambini (meaning the children's house) in Rome, Italy which was a school for poor children. Utilizing scientific observation and experience gained from earlier works, she published her own educational theories and methods, as well as designed educational materials which ิbecame known as the Montessori Method.
When you first step inside a Montessori classroom, you will not find a black board hanging in front of the class with rows of tables for each child to sit during lessons as you usually found in a traditional classroom. However, you will find well-defined spaces for each part of the curriculum, such as Language Arts, Math, Geometry, or Biology etc. Each of these areas features shelves containing Montessori learning materials that students can choose to work with. Children either work at the table or on the floor by using working mats to define their work space. The classroom is inviting and beautiful which is thoughtfully arranged to accommodate learning choices.
A Montessori classroom allows children to do many things such as walk, move, choose their own activities as long as their choices are purposeful and fall under the classroom rules. This is called freedom within limits. Therefore, each child learns how to become independent and be respectful at the same time. In addition, it is important to use child-size furniture which allow a child to easily access learning materials to work or do activities by themselves.
Montessori education is an aid to prepare children for life. The curriculum itself aims not only to develop children academically but more importantly, to give fundamental social and cognitive skills that make children become independent, confident and mature with age and development.
The Montessori curriculum is scientifically designed to meet with the children's characteristics at each age group in accordance with the Montessori plane of development. For instance, when stepping into the Montessori classroom, you will see toddlers has to pouring their own glass of water, you can see primary children cleaning the wet floor, and you may see elementary children consult with each other to finish their work. These are examples of such essential skills that they will require in their future life. Montessori children will practice these imperative skills each day in their classroom environments specific to their level and they will gain mastery in these areas, that in turn aid them for life.