Maria Montessori was Italy’s first female doctor, renowned for her remarkable common sense and first-rate observation skills. Her first school, called the Children’s House (“Casa dei Bambini”) was opened in 1907 in Rome. From there her educational philosophy quickly gained international recognition, with schools being opened throughout Italy and Switzerland as early as 1912.
Maria, like other stage theorists, developed her theories based around periods of growth that were distinct from other periods. The ages of 0-3, 3-6, 6-12 and 12-18 correspond directly to the stages of child development that are acknowledged in many domains of society as infancy, early childhood, childhood and adolescence. The Montessori method is an internationally regarded educational pedagogy designed specifically for children as they pass through the various stages of human development.
The foundations of the Montessori approach in the 3 to 6 year environment includes learning through movement, self paced activity, community awareness and collaborative action, and is specifically designed to encourage problem solving by each child. The physical and social environment elicits creative solutions to be sought as children, through their own observation and analysis, interact with their surroundings to create the harmonious and loving place.
A Montessori class is a place where children learn to work independently as well as interact with others in ways that are congruent with a self-reflection of social etiquette and personal rights. Through their own hands children discover empirical knowledge of the world while they discriminate and communicate their discoveries using written, spoken or artistic communication styles.
There are currently over 22,000 schools across 117 countries worldwide teaching according to the Montessori philosophy, with around 300 Montessori schools in Australia.
“All children have the right to an environment that is carefully prepared so that it meets and nurtures the developmental needs of each child.
The child is an active participant in the learning process.
Multi-age groups aligned with developmental planes provide for optimal social, emotional and cognitive learning.
Self-discovery and exploration are important parts of the learning process.
A non-competitive approach and the use of self-correcting materials promotes independence and self-confidence.
The culturally diverse backgrounds of families and their active involvement in the school or centre enrich and foster a community that embraces tolerance and cooperation.”
Quoted from: Montessori Australia MQAP Charter