What is Montessori?
Maria Montessori, born in Italy in 1870, studied the educational problems of handicapped children. Under her tutelage such children achieved startling results and passed the Italian state examinations in reading and writing for normal children. She concluded that her methods might successfully be applied to all young children and she began to work with toddlers in private and public schools in Rome. At first she encountered opposition from supporters of orthodox methods of education, but won through with the help of enthusiastic reformers, and in 1922 she was appointed government inspector of schools in Italy. She wrote several books on the system of education which she developed, and spent her later years supervising training courses all over the world.
The Montessori School
What can parents expect to see and what can they expect to happen in a Montessori classroom? The first priority of the Montessori teacher is the natural development of the child in all aspects; physical, intellectual, emotional, and social. Through the different curriculum areas of the classroom, the child is encouraged and guided so that natural growth takes place and his/her unique personality emerges.
From the time the child is born, he or she has a desire to learn. However, each child develops at their own pace. To this end individual activities are presented and in this way the children do not feel that they are in competition with their peers. Within the Montessori environment children are given the freedom to choose and investigate, the teacher directing them towards areas of interest or the next stage of development.
Parents are encouraged to take an active role in their child’s education, such as spending some time in the classroom. Communication between home and school is important, and it is necessary to establish these links early as it has been shown that the more interest that is taken in the child’s progress the more likely the child is to achieve. To this end, parents are encouraged to discuss any concerns they may have with members of staff, preferably by appointment.
We hold parent-teacher sessions several times a year during which we discuss the children’s progress.