Dr. Maria Montessori was the first female doctor in Italy in the early 1900s. She became known throughout the world as a great educational innovator. Trained in science and medicine, she used her skillful powers of observation to analyze young childrens’ most natural and effective learning strategies, which she found were rooted in a series of sensitive periods (from 3 to 6 years). During these sensitive years, a child learns with the whole body: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and, above all, doing. To enhance these early learning periods, she designed an ingenious series of hands-on educational materials, reproductions of which are still used in Montessori classrooms on every continent, regardless of ethnicity or socio-economic status. Her method of education allowed young children to unlock their potential in all areas: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. The role of the environment, the child and the teacher is what makes this method unique.
Montessori classrooms provide a prepared environment where children are free to respond to their natural curiosity and desire to learn. The children’s inherent love of learning is encouraged by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, meaningful activities under the guidance of a trained Montessori teacher. Through their work, the children develop coordination, motivation, concentration, order, discipline, and independence. Within the framework of order, the children progress at their own pace and rhythm, according to their individual capabilities, during the crucial years of development.
The teacher in the Montessori classroom must undergo special training. He/she is the dynamic link between the child and the environment. The main focus of a Montessori teacher is to guide the child by providing a well prepared environment. This environment fosters the creativity and the curiosity of the child and also bolsters the child’s self-esteem. The child is able to learn independently and with the help of his/her peers and teacher. Children receiving Montessori instruction excel academically and socially, with the confidence they need to reach their fullest potential.
Current research indicates that children gain 80% of their lifetime intelligence before they reach their eighth birthday. The Montessori Philosophy is a “brain-based approach to education which provides an unparalleled foundation for the development of academic, social, and executive functions critical for advanced problem solving and lifetime success.” (Dr. Steven Hughes, Director of Education & Research, Professor of Paediatrics and Neurology, Univ. of Minnesota). Dr. Montessori realized , one hundred years ago, what research is now showing today – that the most important period of a child’s intellectual development takes place before age six. She saw the children between the ages of three to six had an “Absorbent Mind”, and a tremendous propensity for and natural love of learning. The goal of the Montessori classroom is to foster in children this love of learning and to help them reach their potential, not only as students but also as human beings.
Said Montessori: “The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first, the period from birth to the age of six. For that is the time when man’s intelligence itself, his greatest implement is being formed. But not only his intelligence; the full totality of his psychic powers…” (Dr. Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, 1940). As a parent, one of the most important decisions and investments one can make is the choice of an early, enriched learning environment for his or her child. In doing so, parents provide a solid foundation of success in learning upon which the child may build for the rest of his or her life. Montessori education provides this enriched learning environment for a child, and Kinderhaus Montessori provides such an environment for your child.