What is Montessori Education?
“Montessori” means different things to different people and sometimes different things to the same person. Montessorians themselves may disagree on what constitutes the core of Montessori education and philosophy. The word “Montessori” could refer to a movement for social reform, a set of materials, an approach to raising children, a theory of human development or a philosophy of life.
Most Montessori schools, teachers and teacher education programs share a number of characteristics that distinguish them from other schools, teachers and programs, yet for one to understand “Montessori” in any of its manifestations, knowledge of Maria Montessori, the person, is an important first step.
Over her lifetime, Maria Montessori (1870-1953) developed and articulated a rich, holistic philosophy of human development and a detailed methodology for its implementation. For more than 70 years her ideas and practices have been implemented successfully across cultures and economic classes throughout the world. Contemporary research continues to validate many of her ideas. The influence of her ideas continues to grow.
Montessori based her philosophy and methods on a deep understanding of and respect for children. She wrote that all human beings are born with both universal and unique potentials. Every person enters the world with a unique inner plan that directs and drives them to develop, to master and to perfect themselves. Human beings begin life with internal timetables and patterns already established for growth, both physically and psychologically. If free to grow in healthy surroundings under suitable conditions, children naturally grow into intelligent, competent and responsible adults. it is the task of adults to provide such conditions and aid children in their great quests to develop to their full potentials.