Montessori Approach

Montessori East offers truly individualised learning in an environment that encourages the children to take control of their learning. The Montessori approach follows the child's development. The teachers aid and support this learning offering guidance when required and to ensure that each child is challenged sufficiently to reach their potential.

Learn more about Montessori education here.

Dr Maria Montessori
Dr Maria Montessori

We thought you might like to learn more about the magnificent woman behind Montessori education – Dr Maria Montessori.  Read on ....

The Healer

Born in 1870, Dr Montessori was a gifted scholar who became the first woman in Italy to graduate as a doctor.  Montessori specialized in psychiatry and family health.  She was committed to the health care of women and children.  Montessori became well known throughout Europe as an advocate of social reform addressing poverty and the related social ills of poor nutrition and hygiene, which she realized had a negative effect on the development of children.

Early work with Children

Through her psychiatric work Dr Montessori became the director of an institution for “defective” children.  In stark contrast to the beliefs of the time, Montessori believed that these children could be helped through quality education.  Montessori was trained as a scientist to observe natural phenomena.  She used this training to observe the children in her care.  On the basis of her observations she developed teaching techniques which seemed to have a miraculous effect. Some of the children did very well in public examinations.

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Developing an Education Model

Montessori began to ask how these teaching techniques might work for ‘normal’ children.  On the basis of her observations of child development and her ground breaking teaching methods, Dr Montessori was appointed to the University of Rime as a professor in the fields of anthropology and pedagogy.  In 1906, she was asked to open a school for a group of children who were running wild on a housing estate in a poor area of Rome.  She called her school ‘Casa dei Bambini’ (The Children’s House) and again she applied and developed her teaching techniques.  Once more the results seemed to be miraculous.  The ‘wild’ children quickly became a community of learners.  This first Montessori school had an extraordinary impact on educators throughout the world.  Dr Montessori was honoured in many countries and for a time it seemed her method would become mainstream.

The School Curriculum

Sadly the momentum of her work was twice broken by the two world wars of the twentieth century.  Despite the difficulties Dr Montessori faced during her lifetime, she succeeded in designing a comprehensive array of lessons and exercises based on the specialized concrete materials which characterize Montessori classrooms.  These lessons and exercises introduce children aged from approximately three to twelve years to all the major educational disciplines including spoken and written language, mathematics, science, history, geography, music and visual arts. 

Maria Montessori‘s contribution to Education and Peace.

During 1930 Dr Montessori became profoundly concerned with the question of peace.  Her concern did not stem from political problems but rather the human problem, and so Montessori started a crusade tin the name of education.  She gave speeches all around the world and had the support of politicians and leaders.  Montessori said that “preventing conflict is the work of politics; establishing peace is the work of education.”  Universities, organizations and associations in many countries proposed her as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1949 and 1950.

Basic Principles

The Montessori school follows the principles of a child-centred education developed by Dr Maria Montessori.  Find out about the Prepared Environment, Stage of Development and Independence.

Child Centred

An important element in the Montessori philosophy is the view Dr Montessori took of children as unique human beings.  The view evolved over time as she observed children in their own environment and in the “prepared environment” of Montessori classrooms in different parts of the world.  The Montessori system of education is child-centred and teacher facilitated.  The needs of the child are paramount.

The Prepared Environment

The Montessori classrooms are carefully prepared and ordered learning environments, organized to meet the needs of children at different stages of development.

Stages of Development

Dr Montessori observed that children pass through periods of acute interest in specific aspects of the physical and social environment.  She called these the ‘Sensitive Periods’ and designed Montessori classrooms with a range of distinctive, concrete materials equipped to respond to each child’s particular sensitive periods.  These materials spark and hold children’s interest and lead them comparatively effortlessly to educational knowledge.

Independence

The Montessori Method and materials develop within the child the ability to work independently and collaboratively in order to fulfill their individual potential.  The child has the opportunity to develop qualities of self esteem, independence, self reliance and self discipline, and to build the skills of concentration, research and orderly work patterns.  Social awareness and responsibility are also fostered in children who are educated in the Montessori Method.  The environment promotes respect for self and others, awareness and consideration for the needs of fellow human beings, developing the child intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.  The Montessori Method is unique in that it allows the educators to treat each child as an individual.

The Montessori Teacher

“The vision of the Directress should be at once precise like that of a scientist, and spiritual like that of a saint.  When the Directress finds joy in observing the inner life of the child then she has begun to become a teacher.” – Maria Montessori

In the Montessori pre-primary classrooms, teachers are called Directors or Directresses, from the Italian word “Direttoressa”, which has the connotation of ‘leading’.  In the primary classes the term ‘Teacher’ is used.  The teacher’s role is to guide and facilitate rather than teach, directing the natural energy of the child, acting as a support, offering help only when necessary.  This extends the child’s ability to concentrate and focus on their work.  The role of the teacher is to prepare the environment and the condition in which the child can develop.  The teacher can then act as a link between the child and the environment, supporting the child’s activities within the environment.  The teacher is trained as a keen observer in order to recognize the strengths and needs of every child as well as the whole group.  This allows the teacher to present materials and activities at the right time and to know when to intervene, help or withdraw.



Maria Montessori