What is the Montessori Approach?
“Education is not filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” – William Butler Yeats
Montessori was one of the most important early years educators of the 20th century, the innovator of classroom practices and ideas which have had a profound influence on the education of young children the world over.
She was the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome medical school and became interested in education through her work as a doctor, treating what today are known as children with special needs. When she went on to establish schools for the disadvantaged children of working parents in Rome she approached their education as a scientist, using the classroom as her laboratory for observing children and finding ways to help them to achieve their full potential.
It soon became apparent that Dr Montessori had developed a highly effective method of teaching which could be used with great success with each and every child. She began to travel the world, establishing schools, lecturing about her discoveries and writing many articles right up to her death in Holland in 1952 at the age of 82. She was a true pioneer of child-centered education. Her innovative classroom practices and ideas have had a profound influence on the education of young children all over the world.
Montessori saw that children learn best by doing and that happy self-motivated learners form positive images of themselves as confident, successful people. She created specially designed resources to foster independence and a love for learning from an early age.
The Montessori approach is holistic and aims to develop the whole child. Fundamental to the approach is the belief that a child’s early years from birth to six are the period when they have the greatest capacity to learn.
Montessori left a legacy through her work that combines a philosophy of freedom and self-development for children with a practical approach.