The Montessori Method
“I have studied the child, I have taken what the child has given me and expressed it, and that is what is called the Montessori Method.”
Montessori education is a revolutionary approach to learning that traces its roots back to the early 20th century. Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator, developed this method based on her keen observations of children's natural learning tendencies. In 1907, she opened the first Montessori school in San Lorenzo, an impoverished area of Rome, introducing a novel educational philosophy that emphasizes fostering a child's innate curiosity, self-motivation, and independence. Dr. Montessori's innovative ideas gained traction globally, and the Montessori method has since evolved into a prominent educational framework used in schools worldwide.
The fundamental principles of Montessori education are deeply rooted in understanding the developmental stages and needs of children. The approach is designed to cultivate a child's holistic growth—intellectual, emotional, social, and physical—by providing an environment that encourages exploration and discovery. Central to the Montessori philosophy is the concept of "prepared environments," carefully designed to stimulate a child's natural curiosity and enable them to learn at their own pace. In these environments, children have the freedom to choose their activities, promoting self-discipline, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. The Montessori method focuses on hands-on, experiential learning, using specially designed materials that facilitate understanding and mastery of abstract concepts through concrete experiences.
Montessori education embraces the belief that each child is unique, possessing an intrinsic desire to learn and explore the world. The approach aims to nurture a child's natural love for learning and supports the development of essential life skills, including decision-making, collaboration, and adaptability. By fostering a strong sense of independence and self-directed learning, Montessori education prepares children to become confident, capable individuals who approach challenges with creativity and resilience. Through its enduring legacy and widespread adoption – there are approximately 20,000 Montessori schools around the globe - the Montessori method continues to shape the future of education, promoting a lifelong love of learning and a strong foundation for success in all aspects of life.
“If we are among the men of good will who yearn for peace, we must lay the foundation for peace ourselves, by working for the social world of the child.”
—International Montessori Congress, 1937
The Four Planes of Development
Through scientific research, Maria Montessori arrived at the conclusion that childhood is marked by four planes of development, each spanning a six-year period. For the purposes of classroom groupings these planes are subdivided into two, giving us a three-year age span in each Montessori classroom.
Next, we will discuss the hallmarks of each plane and how the developing child is met with opportunities within their classroom environment which meets the needs of their particular plane.