Maria Montessori

The Montessori Method of educating children was initiated in the early 20th century by Maria Montessori, one of Italy’s first female physicians.  Personal interest led her to devote her professional life to discovering a better way of educating children.  Through observation and experimentation, Montessori refined a style of presentation and designed a set of learning materials that best matched the way children learn.

The Montessori Method of teaching represents a profound respect for the child.  It is a model grounded in stages of development as revealed by children themselves.

Montessori discovered stages of readiness for assimilating concepts, and she found that children have natural curiosity and instinctive motivation to pursue what is of interest to them. Her method acknowledges that while all children pass through phases of readiness, each child has an individual time line that must be honored.

When Montessori established her first classroom, Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House, in 1907, she arranged within it furniture and materials that were sized to match a child’s stature.  The setting was designed for success in lessons and mastery of independence.  

Montessori conceived of multi-age class groupings, which promote a supportive rather than a competitive environment, and foster confidence through role modeling.

As a person who lived through two World Wars, Maria Montessori longed for world peace.  She believed that such a peace resides in the hearts of children. Because of her work, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1949, 1950 and 1951.

In the Montessori philosophy, the spirit of the child is as critically important as their mind.  A true Montessori program nurtures the whole child.  Alongside academic lessons, children learn to respect different cultures and differences among individuals. Peaceful behavior is taught through ‘grace and courtesy,’ a component of Practical Life. The Montessori educated child knows that each person has the ability to initiate ripples of peace that will impact the world.

The Montessori Method lit upon an approach to education that was far ahead of its time. Modern scientific research into how children learn supports Montessori’s conclusions of 100 years ago. Furthermore, Montessori education fosters teamwork, global awareness and critical thinking – all qualities that are much needed in today’s world.