What is Montessori?

The Montessori method fosters independence and self-direction through the thoughtful design of each material, through the child-sized layout of the environment, and through the way the adult interacts with the child. When children have more control over their learning, they work harder, perform better, retain more information, and are more creative and joyful.

Montessori is a method of education which allows
every child to achieve their full potential

In a Montessori class, children can:

  • choose materials specific to his interest and stage of development
  • exercise freedom of movement
  • examine and discover with all their senses
  • follow their own pace
  • repeat an activity as many times as they want
  • play and work without interruptions

a brief history of Montessori education

India, The Absorbent Mind, 1940

Maria Montessori was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 3 times! 

Dr. Maria Montessori was born on August 31st of 1870. She was among the first female physicians in Italy, fighting her way into medical school and doing cadaver work at night by candlelight because it was deemed “inappropriate” for her to study in this way with her male classmates. 

After graduating, she worked with some of the most under resourced children in Italy and devised an education for them as part of her care plan. Everyone was shocked when those children, who were deemed a lost cause by many, surpassed the most privileged children on state exams. 

Dr. Montessori’s reaction was not boastfulness, but instead, began a serious inquiry into the state education system that seemed not to be serving children. 

Her method expanded beyond children from 3-6 years old to children of all ages, from pregnancy to 18 years old. Maria Montessori and her family started the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) to preserve the integrity of the Montessori method. AMI still upholds the highest standards of Montessori education globally.

Montessori education is now the most popular education method in the world, used in 25,000 schools in 144 countries for over 100 years, and validated by research articles in the top scientific journals. The reason it has worked so well for so long, in any geography, is because she developed it through a scientifically rigorous method of observing children and responding. 

The best way to honour Dr. Montessori is to remember the importance of observation with our own children. Like her, let’s approach our children with curiosity and trust rather than with preconceived ideas of their capabilities. Let’s provide opportunities for development and then sit back to see what they do, without any interference from us. Let’s be present with them because it really isn’t possible to observe clearly unless we are anchored in the moment. This will not only help us to better support our children’s needs, it will also make parenting much more relaxed, joyful and fun.