Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman doctor in Italy, was a great pioneer in the study of child development and education. In the early part of the 20th century, through years of careful observation while working with young children, she developed a unique educational method which revolutionized teaching methods and brought a sense of independence, accomplishment and excitement to the classroom.
Basically, the Montessori philosophy suggests that all children carry within themselves the person they will become. In order to develop physical, intellectual, and spiritual potential to the fullest, the child must have freedom; a freedom which they achieve through order and self-discipline.
Dr. Montessori developed what she called the “prepared environment” which allows children to learn at their own pace, according to their own capabilities and in a non-competitive atmosphere. The environment, or classroom, is prepared with respect to the child’s size and interests, with educational materials located on low shelves within easy reach. The children are free to direct themselves and to set up their own program of learning in a trusting atmosphere under the guidance of the teachers. In this environment the children’s own natural curiosities are satisfied, and they begin to experience the joy of discovering the world about them.
Watch a short clip from the film, "Maria Montessori: Her Life and Legacy"...