The Montessori programme offers a nurturing, non-competitive learning environment which aims to meet the individual needs of a child in his physical, social, emotional and intellectual development.
The Montessori Method is not just a means to teach children intellectual accomplishments. The purpose of Montessori is to aid the formation of people – the development of the child to adulthood.
Montessori believed that education must help “life”. The habits and skills which a child develops in a Montessori class are good for a lifetime. They help him work more efficiently, to observe more carefully and to concentrate more effectively.
The use of the materials is based on the young child’s unique aptitude for leaning which Dr. Montessori identified as the “absorbent mind”. She frequently compared the young mind to a sponge. It literally absorbs information from the environment.
Acquiring information in this way is a natural and delightful activity for the young child who employs all his senses to investigate his interesting surroundings.
Since the child retains this ability to learn by absorbing until he is almost seven years old, Dr, Montessori reasoned that his experience could be enriched by a classroom where he could handle the materials, which would demonstrate basic educational information to him.
Dr. Montessori always emphasised that the hand is the chief teacher of the child. In order to learn, there must be concentration, and the best way a child can concentrate is by fixing his attention on the task he is performing with his hands. All the equipment in a Montessori classroom allows the child to reinforce his casual impressions by inviting him to use his hands for learning.
Another observation of Dr. Montessori, which has been reinforced by modern research, is the importance of the sensitive periods for early learning. These are periods of intense fascination for learning a particular characteristic or skill, such as going up and down the steps, putting things in order, counting or reading. It is easier for the child to learn a particular skill during the corresponding sensitive period than at any other time in his life. The Montessori classroom takes advantage of this fact by allowing the child freedom to select individual activities, which correspond to his periods of interest.
Parents should understand that a Montessori school is neither a baby-sitting service nor a play school. It is a unique learning environment designed to take advantage of the child’s sensitive years between two and six, where he can absorb information. A child who acquires the basic skills of reading and arithmetic in this natural way has the advantage of beginning his education without drudgery, boredom or discouragement. By pursuing his individual interests in a Montessori classroom, he gains an early enthusiasm for learning, which is the key to his becoming a truly educated person.
Montessori . . .
is an attitude,
not simply a teaching system,
not just a technique.
One must have
great love for
and understanding of
each individual child.
is a spiritual attitude
and mankind begins