"Free the child's potential, and you will transform him into the world."

What is Montessori?

Who was Maria Montessori?

Dr. Montessori lived from 1870 to 1952. She was the first female Doctor of Medicine in Italy. Through her initial work with handicapped and socially deprived children, she began to develop her unique educational philosophy. As a result of her further study, observation, and experimentation, she found the principles of her method to be applicable to all children. She has had an impact on the field of education in general and the way we understand and teach children today.

 
Characteristics of the Elementary Program

 

 “…this is the period when the seed of everything can be sown,
                                                   the child’s mind being like a fertile field.”

                                                                -Maria Montessori in To Educate the Human Potential

 

Maria Montessori called her plan for the elementary-aged child cosmic education.  The term “cosmic” refers to the global nature of the plan, which is designed to convey to the child the interrelatedness of all facets of the universe. 

The elementary classroom is built on five components:

·         Geography:  physical and political geography of the Earth

·         Biology: the study of all forms of life

·         History: the stories of human beings on earth, and the history of the earth itself

·         Language: all forms of communication, both spoken and written, including visual arts and music

·         Mathematics: arithmetic, geometry, and algebra

While each has its own materials and lessons, no subject can be studied in isolation.  For example, the study of geometry is related to geography, as the measurement of the earth, as well as to history, through the stories of the first civilizations to use it.  The child understands that everything we study has to do with our universe – it is meaningful to them, and they come to see the interrelatedness of it all.

This plan is built on a foundation of Montessori principles:

·         The prepared environment:  the classroom and all of its contents are designed to meet the specific developmental needs of the elementary-aged child.

·         The work of the child:  the child learns through experience, by interacting with the materials and the people in the classroom.

·         The Montessori guide:  trained by an accredited Montessori training program, the classroom teacher - or guide – prepares the environment and provides the opportunity for experiences in the environment.

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