What is Montessori?
The Montessori Method was founded by Dr. Maria Montessori in Italy, in the early 20th century. The first woman in Italy to become a doctor, Montessori based her educational methods on observation of children's learning processes. Guided by her discovery that children teach themselves, Dr. Montessori designed a 'prepared environment' in which children could freely choose from a number of developmentally appropriate activities. Today, Montessori education is one of the largest in the world, and spans ages from birth to adolescence.
The prepared Environment
"The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences" Maria Montessori
Dr. Montessori believed that the prepared environment was an essential tool in supporting the child to explore and learn from their surroundings. Classrooms should be beautifully thought out and presented to children, inviting engagement and guiding children naturally in a calm and well-ordered space. Children are free to choose and work on activities at their own pace. They are able to work indecently or in pairs or small groups.
Classrooms are arranged to enable children to explore in five distinct areas of learning. These are Practical Life, Sensorial, Language Area, Mathematics and the Cultural Area. Each plays an important role in shaping the child's experience and developing the skills necessary to be successful in the others. Practical Life for example is concerned with teaching children to be independent, confident and to develop concentration skills. Sensorial experiences are tactile and appeal to children's innate need to explore with all their senses. Both these areas of learning are essential in developing skills such as self-awareness, vocabulary and the ability to sort and classify that support children's use of language and math materials.
The Montessori approach to education is holistic and puts the child at the centre of the learning programme. We believe it provides a strong foundation that supports children to enjoy the learning process and to see themselves as successful participants in the process.