The Montessori Method is an educational approach developed over 100 years ago by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori. Montessori education is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child's natural psychological, physical, and social development. Children thrive in an environment where movement is encouraged alongside focused attention and repetition for mastery and kindness is standard.
The Montessori Method allows each child to learn at his/her own pace in a classroom environment thoughtfully prepared by the teacher. Because the materials are sequenced from concrete to abstract and children are encouraged to repeat classroom activities as many times as needed for mastery, children of all ability levels are able to achieve success in a Montessori environment, where hands-on experiences and community-oriented learning abounds.
Dr. Montessori was a cutting-edge educator in her time. She did what no others had done before her, and that is to study children at each stage and come to understand the best way to tap into a child's natural curiosity in order to build not only skills and knowledge, but also a love of learning. Dr. Montessori discovered that given the right tools, materials, time, space, and guidance, children are capable of extraordinary thought and problem solving.
Montessori education is as relevant today as it was over 100 years ago. The task of educational leaders today is to sculpt teaching and learning to best meet the demands of the 21st Century. Students must be skilled in working both independently and collaboratively. They must be able to think critically, be comfortable with constructing knowledge as opposed to relying on proscribed ideas, and they need to be creative and flexible problem solvers who care about making life better for themselves and others. These components are inherent parts of The Montessori Method.