Maria Montessori was a doctor and educationalist. In 1896, she was the first woman to practice medicine in Italy. She is known for her beliefs around peaceful, purposeful and independent education.
Throughout her time of being a physician working in an orphanage, Maria Montessori observed that children with special needs could learn important life skills if their environment was conducive to learning. She progressed this knowledge into education where her philosophy is known for teaching children how to learn intrinisically (from within). This is achieved by observing the child, providing a stimulating and self directed environment, guided learning by the teachers and whole lot of love.
The Montessori philosophy is based on the child's innate desire to be curious enough to learn how to become independent with their body, mind and spirit. It is a bottom up approach to education.
Adults wrap support around a child by showing them how to do things and how to be respectful towards themselves, others, and their environment. The adult then steps back to allow the child to experiment and practice their new skill as many times as they want. This helps them to perfect the new task, in their own time, at their own pace, and to their own level of achievement.
Montessori children are known for their ability to want to learn, focus, concentrate, and most importantly how to be kind to others.
Today we live in a life of speed - juggling jobs, families, partners, technology, bright lights and competition. We can often live in a separated world where people have little or no extended family support around them. Yet, we are expected within seconds to just 'know' how to do the biggest job of our life; whilst attempting to maintain a smile on our faces to the outside world.
At Belmont Montessori Preschool, we practice the Montessori philosophy through a very commonsense and practical approach. It is not about having a set of rigid rules according to the latest fashion. Instead, it is about slowing down, taking care of ourselves, and creating a happy environment.
The Montessori child
The Montessori toddler is beginning to explore how they can become independent in the world around them. A common phrase is "Me do it". Toddlers can become easily frustrated when their desires don't quite match their skills or what their parents are telling them.
The Montessori child is developing the skills of self-motivation, learning, resilience, creativity, curiosity and self-discipline. They are learning to become more indepedent with their own self-care skills as well as becoming aware of ther people's feelings.
The Montessori parent
The Montessori teacher
The Montessori teacher is kind, caring, patient, and empathetic towards the child. Montessori is a 'state of being' for teachers. They see children as individuals on different pathways of learning. Montessori teachers observe the child's wellbeing and put steps into place to support and extend their learning. They have specialised academic learning on Montessori materials. This helps teachers know the right time to show different materials to a child according to their individual development. Montessori teachers have a love of nature and understand the importance of our feet being on the land.
The Montessori parent has good routines and several flexible plans set up. They accept they are their child's most important teacher, but yet maintain their own adult independence. Their child feels safe and secure with fair boundaries put in place. They allow their child to develop at their own pace, free from competition. They learn how to observe their child's behaviour to see what is needing to be taught; whether it is physical, spiritual, or emotional learning. They will wrap support around the child by showing them how to do things and then stepping back for their child to find their own creative way of repetitively practising it.
"The greatest sign of success for a teacher ... is to be able to say. "The children are now working as if I did not exist" Maria Montessori
"The child has a mind able to absorb knowledge. He has the power to teach himself"
"The education of even a small child, therefore, does not aim at preparing him for school, but for life"
"Imagination does not become great until human beings, given the courage and strength, use it to create"
"The true basics of imagination, is reality"
"Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment"
"A child needs freedom within limits"