The name “Montessori” is from Dr. Maria Montessori, the first female Doctor of Medicine in Italy, who lived from 1870 to 1952. Dr. Montessori developed her unique educational method through her work with children, known as the Montessori Method, which is both a philosophy of child development and a rationale for guiding such growth. Children’s developmental needs are fostered through freedom within limits in a carefully prepared environment, which guarantees exposure to materials and experiences.

The main premises of Montessori education are:
  • Children possess unusual sensitivity and intellectual ability to absorb and learn from their environments, unlike adults both in quality and capacity.
  • The most critical years of a child’s growth are the first six years of life when their unconscious learning comes to a conscious level.

"Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed."  -Maria Montessori

The Whole Child Approach: The primary goal of a Montessori program is to help the children reach their full potential in all areas of life. Activities promote the development of social skills, emotional growth, physical coordination, and mental preparation.
The Prepared Environment: In the self-directed classroom, the whole learning environment (classroom, materials, and social setting) must support the children.
The Montessori Materials: Dr. Montessori’s observations led her to design several multi-sensory, sequential, and self-correcting materials to facilitate learning.
The Teacher: The Montessori teacher is a meticulous observer of each child’s behavior and growth. Through their observation, they guide the child in an environment designed to meet the needs of each child. Montessori credentialing requires years of extensive training.

Dr. Montessori has impacted education and how we understand and teach children today. Her influence can be seen not only in the number of schools that bear her name but throughout the fields of child care, education, and child development.

Modern kindergarten classrooms use child-sized furniture and didactic materials first introduced by Montessori. She was an innovator in education, and ideas once met with resistance in her day are now accepted as natural aspects of childhood. Many of her ideas are now part of our knowledge, language, and thinking about children.

Such current concepts as individualized learning and readiness programs, manipulative learning, ungraded classes, combined age groups, team teaching, and open classrooms reflect many of her early insights.