THE MONTESSORI METHOD OF EDUCATION
1. What is Montessori?
Montessori is an approach to the education of children. It is a way of looking at and understanding children. It is a view of how children develop and learn which has been translated into a systematic method of education based upon careful scientific study. The Montessori educational system is unique in that it has successfully undergone continued development for over seventy years and has been used effectively with mentally retarded, physically handicapped, normal and gifted children in different countries around the world. Perhaps the most significant reason for its success is that it is a comprehensive method of education resulting from an integration of research on development, learning, curriculum, and teaching.
2. What is the idea behind the Montessori approach to the education of children?
Montessori is an approach to the education based upon the principle that schooling should work with the nature of the child instead of against it. Therefore, education should be based upon scientific study of the child and a resulting understanding of the processes of development and learning.
3. What is the Montessori understanding of the nature of the child?
Dr. Montessori felt that her greatest discovery was that children like to work as well as play. In fact, children have a natural drive to work in order to develop. The child’s great task is to create an adult. As a result, children are not content unless they have an opportunity to develop and learn.
4. How does Montessori’s understanding of the child influence her view of education?
Since Montessori schools are based upon the principle that “…the child, not the teacher, is the construction of man, and so of society…” It is felt that the “human teacher can only help great work that is being done…” “Education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words, but by experiences upon the environment.” Therefore, the teacher’s job is to provide the materials and environment which will aid development and to be ready to respond when help is needed.
5. What is Dr. Montessori’s view of education?
Dr. Montessori felt that education should no longer consist of importing knowledge, but must instead take a new path seeking the release of human potentialities. However, it must not be forgotten that, “if education is to be an aid to civilization, it cannot be carried out by emptying the schools of knowledge, of character, of discipline, of social harmony, and above all, of freedom.”