Montessori education was developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori. Montessori developed many of her ideas while working with mentally challenged children. Her first school, Casa dei Bambini, was opened to working class children in a poor neighborhood in Rome. The Montessori approach is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, social development.
Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning, and collaborative play. In Montessori classrooms, children make creative choices in their learning, while the classroom and the teacher offer age-appropriate activities to guide the process.
Children work in groups as well as individually to discover and explore knowledge of the world and to develop their maximum potential.
The model is based on two basic principles. First, children and developing adults engage in psychological self-construction by means of interaction with their environments. Second, children, especially under the age of six, have an innate path of psychological development.
Maria Montessori believed that children best develop when they are allowed to make decisions and act freely within an environment that emphasizes the following qualities:
An arrangement that facilitates movement and activity
Beauty and harmony, cleanliness of environment
Construction in proportion to the child and her/his needs
Limitation of materials, so that only material that supports the child’s development is included
Nature in the classroom and outside of the classroom