What is the Montessori Method?
Montessori education is named after Maria Montessori, the Italian physician and educator, whose work led to the development of a pedagogical approach that has benefitted children and inspired teachers for over 100 years.
A defining feature of Montessori education is the method through which it was developed. In contrast to other educational approaches, Montessori did not impose a philosophy of education on children and teachers but used what she would later refer to as scientific pedagogy to discover how children learn. Montessori developed her philosophy of education, its corresponding materials and activities through her careful analysis of the developmental characteristics and needs of children.
We believe this is at the core of our work in preparing Montessori teachers of the future. Each aspect of our certificate programs is designed to support your understanding of Montessori philosophy and its application as a pedagogy. Together we study Montessori’s motivation in applying her pediatric and psychiatric training to harness the potential of each stage of a child’s development. We will delve deeper into the foundations of Montessori theory that guide our work with children to ensure that graduates of our program are rooted in a thorough understanding of its framework.
A Developmental Approach to Education
Maria Montessori was inspired by her observations of young children whose behaviour defied conventional understanding of their limitations. Over her career she would observe behaviours and characteristics that informed her understanding of young children and also stimulated her curiosity further. In her work with children who had been institutionalized and regarded as unable to be educated in traditional schools, Montessori developed materials and methods of working that met their needs. This approach proved so effective that many of them were able to pass state examinations, in some cases with more success than the children from conventional schools. This and other formative experiences would lead Montessori to further investigate the nature of learning. She approached this as a doctor, applying a systematic, scientific methodology to her study using her understanding of human development as a starting point. Montessori would, through experimentation, observation and documentation, adjust her materials and approach until she arrived at a methodology that attempted to capitalize on a child’s developmental milestones to meet their needs. In this way, she sought to fulfill the potential of these windows of opportunity by providing quality, tailored stimulation and activity at the right time.
Montessori teachers continue to study the ways in which the foundations of the methodology were discovered and then implemented to create a developmental framework. An in depth understanding of the core concepts of Montessori pedagogy remains fundamental and relevant to our work with children today. Montessori applied her study of both anthropology and psychology to document a developmental framework referred to as the planes of development. This pioneering approach incorporated and built upon the ideas of respected, established educators and philosophers.
Montessori’s contribution to education was unique in that its aim was to not fill the child with information externally deemed to have value and importance. Instead, Montessori education endeavors to unlock a child’s potential by ensuring that teachers and the environments in which they work with children, stimulate favourable developmental outcomes. It is the aim of the Montessori approach to aid harmonious adaptation to life through constructive activity that benefits the child’s physical, emotional, social and intellectual development.
In teacher training, adult learners benefit from study of each plane of development, its characteristics and needs and in particular the plane of development that corresponds with the age range of the children they will be working with.