What Is Montessori?

Dr. Maria Montessori was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with children and education.

Dr. Maria Montessori, Italy’s first female physician, created a revolution in childhood education with her Montessori Method. A basic Montessori tenet is that a child learns best in an environment that supports the individual and offers appropriate materials and guidance for each stage of development. Advocating the “whole child approach,” Dr. Montessori’s goal was to provide a program in which the child flourishes intellectually, physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually.

The following principles define the Montessori Method and goals of the Glebe Montessori School curriculum:

Inner discipline develops as the child internalizes knowledge and assumes a growing responsibility for his or her own learning. By employing inner discipline, children are more able to develop their full potential.

Active involvement in a prepared learning environment, rather than dependence on teachers for constant external direction, fosters patterns of concentration and self-direction in the child.

Mutual respect between child/adult and child/child builds a foundation for cooperation, and for caring and healthy social relationships.

• Focusing on the process of learning, rather than on a simple accumulation of facts, helps the child apply knowledge gained through critical thinking.

These principles are applied in what is known as a “prepared environment.” A visit to GMS classrooms will reveal attractive environments filled with scientifically developed, sequenced and interrelated materials that allow the child to explore concepts through manipulation and discovery, while guided by the teacher. Each child proceeds at an individual pace. Older and younger children work together in the same classroom, helping each other and learning important academic and social skills.

Today, Montessori schools flourish around the world. Dr. Montessori’s unique insights into children are more relevant than ever in assisting educators to prepare our young generation for the unique challenges of the 21st century.

“Our aim is not only to make a child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but to touch his imagination so as to enthuse him to his innermost core.”