One hundred years ago, Dr Maria Montessori, an inspirational educator, developed a unique method of education, based on research into childhood learning.
The Montessori approach fosters children’s love of learning and encourages independence by providing an environment of activities and materials which children use at their own pace. This builds self-confidence, inner discipline, a sense of self-worth and instils positive social behaviour. The approach forms the basis for lifelong learning.
In today’s world it is more important than ever that children become motivated individuals able to develop to their full potential. Montessori takes into account the whole child and his/her place in the community, hence its relevance for today and the future.
The 3 to 6 year old child is undergoing a process of self-construction. The application of the Montessori philosophy and the specifically designed Montessori equipment aids the child’s ability to absorb knowledge and continue this path of self-construction.
When Dr. Montessori spoke of ‘education for life’ she meant preparing a child for the myriad experiences he or she will encounter, both in and outside of school, which of course includes moving from a Montessori primary classroom into high school.
A child who’s been in a Montessori classroom since age 3 has had many years of daily practise in working cooperatively; negotiation with peers; being a leader or a follower, depending on the requirements of the situation; and learning how to learn. Self-reliance and dependability have had the maximum potential to develop as this child made decisions about what to work on, and paced him or herself with the activity. All of these are invaluable skills that will serve the child in primary school, high school, higher education, and the workplace.
The Montessori emphasis is on learning for its own sake, for developing knowledge and awareness of the wonderful world around us. It awakens the natural human desire to know and understand. Children aren’t encouraged to compete, or to work simply to achieve a reward or avoid a consequence. Instead, the child has an opportunity to develop internal motivation, another valuable attribute for primary school, high school and the years beyond.
Montessori graduates typically say they have been well prepared academically, and have the ability to organise themselves and work independently.