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What is the Montessori Philosophy and Method of Education

What is the Montessori Philosophy and Method of Education

Montessori Philosophy and Method of Education was written by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 1900s while working with mentally handicapped children, and then applying the same techniques to “normal” children in a slum district of Rome. The first Casa dei Bambini or Children’s House was established in 1907 in Rome, Italy. She believed that if the principles of nature are applied to the education of children, they will show powerful, inborn qualities such as love of order, intelligence, spontaneous self-discipline and affinity with others. She believed in individualized learning, and freedom within limits. Process of learning is more important than the product.

Dr. Montessori emphasized three key points in all her books: an orderly prepared environment; a humble, observing teacher; and freedom for the child were key to the proper development of the child. She respected the uniqueness of each child, and believed that they could reach their potential if given the right environment.

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What is the difference between Montessori and Traditional Education?

Monterssori Traditional
Three year age range in a classroom One age (grade) in a classroom
Freedom to move around the room Seated at desks, controlling environment
Individual and Small group lessons Large group lessons
Self correcting materials Teacher as source of answers
Enhanced curriculum Grade level curriculum
Emphasis on Individuality Emphasis on conformity
Natural and Logical consequences Rewards and Punishments


Why do Montessori classrooms have mixed ages?


a. Montessori classrooms have a 3 year age range, allowing spontaneous transfer of knowledge from older to younger children. It gives the older children the opportunity to be role models, while providing the natural motivation to the younger children to work on more challenging materials.

b. Since the children in a mixed age classroom stay in the same class for 3 years, about two-thirds of the class returns each year. This provides a more stable classroom environment and builds a strong sense of community.


Is Montessori unstructured, where children are allowed to wander around aimlessly?

a. Montessori classrooms have a 3 year age range, allowing spontaneous transfer of knowledge from older to younger children. It gives the older children the opportunity to be role models, while providing the natural motivation to the younger children to work on more challenging materials.

b. Montessori Method of education ensures that the children learn all the essential skills necessary for that age range, but it also allows the children to explore areas that may be of particular interest to them.

c. The teacher exercises certain limitations to free choice. She does not intervene in any activity which leads to order, harmony and self-development. At the same time, she is not afraid to destroy what undermines a child’s creative energies, or leads to disorder in the classroom.

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