In Montessori schools the child is seen as a dynamic learner, full of creative potential and in need of the maximum possible freedom to be allowed to develop as a happy, confident individual. Montessori schools therefore place emphasis on the importance of process rather than product. In more traditional schools children are seen to be in need of more active instruction and control from adultsthere is less trust in the childs own inner abilities and more emphasis on ensuring defined results. So, Montessori schools are learner-centred, whereas traditional schools tend to be more teacher-centred.
As a pioneer of early years education Maria Montessori (18701952) has left behind her a legacy of early years pedagogy that celebrates the individual child and recognises the childs capacity for leading his/her learning in a well organised environment offering rich learning opportunities under the guidance of a well prepared educator. Montessori s observations led her to formulate her pedagogy focused on childrens sensitive periods, their capacity for active learning through their senses, and education which takes place in a harmonious and respectful atmosphere. These principles have been endorsed by neuroscientists of today and are reflected in many current approaches to early years education such as the EYFS or Reggio Emilia. The carefully prepared favourable learning environment supporting the individual progress of each child remains at the heart of Montessori education today.