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Maria Montessori

The Montessori Method for was developed over a hundred years ago by Italian physician and anthropologist, Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952). Dr. Montessori was the first woman in Italy to receive a medical degree and came to be involved with young children in state hospitals.

Without any preconceived notions about education, she used scientific observation techniques to research how children learn. She found that children go through different developmental stages at key ages - younger children learned better by actively engaging with hands-on materials which sparked deep concentration, while older children were engaged by stories which challenged their intellect. She developed a sequence of materials which were scientifically designed to reveal concepts with use, which spanned the ages from two to twelve. Her discovery that children go through distinct phases of development is now well documented.

Developmental psychology is only now catching up with Dr. Montessori’s observations of developing children made so many years ago.

Dr. Montessori’s approach to education stemmed from her own background in medicine, psychology, and anthropology. As a result, learning in a Montessori environment is both integrated and rooted in understanding human behaviour and motivations.

Understanding context, and why learning is relevant and important is a result of her work with children. Dr. Montessori came to believe that education of children is the only means to elevate society. While lecturing throughout Europe about the needs of children and their value to the future of our societies, she emphasised the need to change our attitudes about children and their treatment. She advocated that the purpose of education should be to nurture the energies of childhood, intellectual, physical, emotional, moral, and spiritual, so that every member of the human race can make a constructive contribution to the world.

Much of the curriculum’s cultural focus and learning about the interdependence of humans are designed to enlighten the child about the similarities of peoples and cultures and to foster global citizenship. A true citizen of the world herself, Dr. Montessori lectured and trained teachers throughout Europe, India, and the United States. Throughout her extensive travels, she continued to carefully observe children all over the world, and found that the patterns of development she had recognised were universal and inherent in children of all races, cultures or era in which they live.

For her committed efforts on behalf of children, especially in the face of the fascism of World War II, Dr. Montessori was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize. Today, Montessori education approach continues to be respected and practised internationally, supporting children and their natural development throughout the world.

The secret of success in education is found to lie in the right use of imagination in awakening Interest

Maria Montessori