Maria Montessori

Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952) formulated a method of education that has had a profound influence on Twentieth Century education.

We have come a long way since the days when the child was thought of as a rather difficult small adult, who had to be kept clean and quiet until he grew old enough to be rational and to take his place in society. One of those who helped to change such attitudes was Dr. Maria Montessori.

Her work is known and recognized throughout the world. Her original interest was in medicine, not teaching. She was the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome Medical school, and only became interested in the particular needs of children when she worked as a doctor treating young children.

She became so involved with the subject of education that she went back to University for further study. She began her work with normal children in 1907, when she was invited to organize schools in a reconstructed area of San Lorenzo in Italy.

Because of her medical background, she approached education not as a philosopher or educator in the usual sense, but as a scientist. She used the classroom as her laboratory for observing children and for testing and shaping her ideas about the best way of helping them achieve their full growth and development.

The result is an open-minded approach focusing entirely on the children with whom it is being used. It is very practical and it works with children of all nationalities.

Dr. Montessori put her ideas into practice, retaining and developing those that obviously worked. So great was her success that she traveled all over the world lecturing about her discoveries and founding schools. She wrote more than fifteen books and numerous articles about education. She died in 1952 at the age of 82.

She left the legacy of a system of education which combines a philosophy and a practical approach to early childhood education. It is based on the idea of freedom within limits, so that full advantage is taken of the self-motivation and unique ability of young children to develop their own capabilities.

Children have their own innate abilities and motivations which are not comparable to those of adults and should be respected in their own right. They need adults to prepare an environment for them within which they can flourish - but they must be allowed to direct their own responses to the possibilities shown to them.

A Montessori teacher's skills show in the achievements of this balance.

For more information, please call: Kensington Montessori Child Care 604-298-5951