The Montessori philosophy of education is based upon the work of Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator. With the trained eye of a medical doctor and scientist and with the heart of an individual wanting to help humanity, Dr. Montessori observed children over a long period of time. Dr. Maria Montessori determined that children need:
- Respect for themselves, others and the environment
- Increasing independence
- Gradual exposure to wider environments
- Participation in their own culture
- Opportunities to make decisions and solve problems
- Intellectual growth through the availability of beautiful, ordered and purposeful materials
Based on her findings, carefully prepared environments for children have been created. These environments are orderly and precise, and have been designed to appeal to the child and encourage learning without being over-stimulating. Everything is designed to facilitate the child’s independence and development. Trained adults known as teachers or guides provide the link between the children and the environment and between the school and the parents.
Montessori is based on self-direction, non-competitive and cooperative activities that help a child develop a strong self-image, high levels of academic and social competence, and the confidence to face challenges with optimism. Encouraged to make decisions from an early age, Montessori educated children are problem-solvers who can make appropriate choices, manage their time, and work well with others. They exchange ideas and discuss work freely. These positive communication skills build the foundation for negotiating new settings.