“The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.” by Maria MontessoriBrooke Robledo Benita Flores
1 October 2014
Born in Chiaravalle in the Province of Ancona in 1870, Maria Montessori was the first woman to practice medicine in Italy, having graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Rome in 1896. As a physician, Dr, Montessori was in touch with young children and became profoundly interested in their development. Through careful and exhaustive scrutiny, she realized that children construct their own personalities as they interact with their environment. In addition, she observed the manner in which they learned as they spontaneously chose and worked with the auto didactic materials she provided. Montessori approach to education stemmed from a solid grounding in biology, psychiatry and anthropology. She studied children of all races and cultures in many countries around the world, soon seeing the university of the laws of human development played out before her. She believed that children should not be treated as receptors of knowledge from the teacher, but instead should be leaders of their own learning. Her philosophy has been embraced in schools around the world. She is best known for the development of the new educational philosophy that would become a school system. She continued her observations throughout her life, widening and deepening her understanding until her death in 1952. Montessori Method follows the guidance of the natural physiological and physical development of the child and may be divided into three parts which are motor education, sensory education, and language education. Motor education is very complex as it must correspond to all the coordinated movements which the child has to establish in his or her physiological organism. The child is left without guidance, is disorderly in his or her movements, and these disorderly movements are the special characteristics of the child. The didactic materials for education of the senses consist of three sets of solid insets, various geometric solids (prism, pyramid, sphere, cylinder, cone, etc.), small wooden tablets of different weights and so much more. The didactic material for the preparation for writing consists of cards on which are pasted to sandpaper letters, two alphabets of colored cardboard and different sizes, etc. In addition, this method seeks to give the children a hands on experience setting up a living scene by allowing the children to hang their coats up, sweep the room, dust and wash the furniture, lay and clear the table, wash up, and cook eggs. Materials provided for this method is specially fitted for the instinctual development of the child, suited to fit the child not adults. Maria Montessori believed freedom without organization of work would be useless so if the child was left free without means of self discipline they would not succeed in life. She considered her work ongoing. Therefore, she did not attempt to formulate her ideas into a final theory of education. However, in her last three years of life, when she was in her eighties, she looked back upon her life’s work and presented the essence of her ideas in an overview. Three main theses appear in her summary. First, that human development does not occur in a steady linear ascent but in a series of formulated plans. Second, that complete development of human beings is made possible by their certain universal actions in relation to their environment. Third, the interaction with the interaction with the environment is most productive in terms of the individual’s development when it’s self-chosen and founded upon individuals interest.
Montessori, M. (2013) The Biography Channel website. http://www.biography.com/people/maria-montessori-9412528. Montessori, Maria (1914) Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook, Dover...
Cited: Montessori, M. (2013) The Biography Channel website. http://www.biography.com/people/maria-montessori-9412528.
Montessori, Maria (1914) Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook, Dover Publications
Lillard, Paula Polk (1996) Montessori Today: A Comprehensive Approach to Education from Birth to Adulthood, Schocken book inc., New York
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