Maria Montessori: Maria pioneered a new approach to early years education. She focused on the child’s natural desire and ability to learn when provided with the right environment, appropriate materials and the guidance of a supportive, observant and empathetic teacher. Born in 1870, she was the first woman to qualify as a medical doctor in Italy and her scientific background is evident in the design of Montessori materials – many of which show her quite remarkable insight into children’s learning patterns.
Her understanding of the inner life of the child and work with supposedly “hard-to-teach” children, psychologists and educationalists has left a powerful legacy in early year’s education.
Montessori Teaching: Montessori education focuses on children’s capacity to learn when given the freedom and independence to do so at their own pace. What makes the approach different, and so successful, is that it is based on a thorough understanding of the way children learn – through choosing, trying and doing themselves. When Montessori based materials are made available in a favourable environment, under the observation and guidance of a Montessori trained teacher, the child becomes an active learner. The environment should provide activities and present opportunities for exploration, investigation and problem solving whilst offering freedom without responsibility. The Montessori approach is a very powerful educational style that builds self-esteem and confidence in every child.
Studies show that Montessori-educated children are more independent, creative and socially adept and regularly out-perform traditionally educated children.