August 31, 1870 – May 6, 1952. Physician and Educator
Dr. Maria Montessori founded a theory of education that has had a profound influence on the lives of thousands of children throughout the world since the beginning of the 20th Century. She wrote that education should “… help the individual from birth and protect his environment”. From this crucial idea the whole of Montessori’s theory, her recommendation for educational practice including the organisation of the environment, the curriculum and the important role of the educator, have developed.
The Montessori Method is an approach to education used predominantly in the pre-school field. It is also used at the Junior, Middle and Senior levels.
The Montessori approach to education requires that children are placed in a well-planned and structured environment which will meet their individual educational and cultural needs. The children are free to follow their own interests within this planned environment, rather than being forced to learn something that is inappropriate to their developmental stage. The result is that children develop in a natural way and are highly motivated. They develop good discipline and master basic skills, and in many cases earlier than in a more traditional system of education. To bring about these results the teacher is trained in specific skills, the curriculum is carefully planned to reflect the children’s own culture and educational needs, the support materials for the curriculum are specifically Montessori and the outcomes for the children are unique.