"The greatness of the human personality begins at the hour of birth."
Montessori was one of the most important early years educators of the 20th century, the innovator of classroom practices and ideas which have had a profound influence on the education of young children the world over.
The Montessori Method is a way of thinking about who children are. It is a philosophy that respects the unique individuality of each child. Dr. Montessori believed in the worthiness, value and importance of children. Her method is founded on the belief that children should be free to succeed and learn without restriction or criticism.
It is also an approach to education that takes to heart the needs, talents, gifts, and special individuality of each child. It is a process that helps children learn in their own way at their own pace. The main concept of Montessori is to promote the joy of learning, developing a well-adjusted person who has a purpose and direction in his or her life. Children who experience the joy of learning are happy, confident, fulfilled children. In essence, Montessori helps bring forth the gift of each child.
Another important skill it teaches is self-reliance and independence. It helps a child to become independent by teaching him or her life skills, or ‘practical life’. Montessori children learn to dress themselves, help cook, put their toys and clothes away and take an active part of their household, neighbourhood and school.
Montessori works in a methodical way. Each step in the process leads to the next level of learning. When a child plays, he or she is learning concepts for abstract learning. Repetition of activities is an integral part of this learning process. Learning is open-ended and much value is placed on the process itself.
For young children Montessori is a hands on approach to learning. It encourages children to develop their observation skills by doing many types of activities. These activities include use of the five senses, kinetic movement, spatial refinement, small and large motor skill coordination, and concrete knowledge that leads to later abstract thinking and awareness.
Most of all, Dr. Montessori wanted to help free a child's mind to be unfettered to learn without any negative input. It is success oriented in that almost everything is self-teaching and self-correcting. The children learn by doing and by experimentation. The environment is specifically prepared for the children to allow them to interact with it freely and unfettered, everything is child sized, and safe for children to touch and use. In fact, Dr. Montessori called her centre "The Children's House".
The success of the Montessori Method lies in the way in which the child is always at the heart of his or her own learning. Children are given many natural resources and with these, their imaginations are stimulated in a way that is becoming more and more recognised and copied by educationalists in the UK and world-wide.
The main goal of Montessori is to provide a stimulating, child oriented environment that children can explore, touch, and learn without fear. An understanding parent or teacher is a large part of this child's world. The end result is to encourage life-long learning, the joy of learning, and happiness about one's path and purpose in life.
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