Maria Montessori: the genius behind the method

Photo Credit: http://www.montessoricentenary.org/photos/

The Early Years

Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was the first female Physician in Italy. After becoming a physician she  worked with disabled children. These children were presumed  “unteachable” and lived in mental asylums with adults diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. Montessori however, noticed that these children did not have a opportunities to explore their surroundings and had little social or academic stimulation. She began to teach them to complete practical tasks and in time she noticed great gains socially and academically. In actuality these children were highly capable, some passed the same academic tests that were administered in regular schools.

Photo Credit: http://www.montessoricentenary.org/photos/

Her Method Works

Montessori was later given charge of a large group of young children in an urban housing community.  She employed the same methods that she had used with the so called “disabled” children as the mental hospital and achieved the same results. The mischievous, aggressive children were soon confident, industrious children.

Photo Credit: http://www.montessoricentenary.org/photos/

Changing Early Education

How did she achieve this success? Montessori made several changes to how young children are viewed and treated. Simple changes such as the size of the classroom furniture helped the children to focus on completing their work. Historically small children sat at bulky desks, designed for school age children. However, her classrooms were suited with custom furniture built for the small children. Montessori also created puzzles, sensory material and manipulatives for her students.  Children were given tasks such as sweeping, polishing, folding, helping to prepare meals and the responsibility of personal hygiene.  She recognized that young children, when given the proper tools are incredibly capable humans.

Photo Credit: http://www.montessoricentenary.org/photos/

Lasting Legacy

As the success of her methods began to become apparent, her style of teaching was replicated in “early education”  school settings. Montessori believed that if children were taught in a peaceful, respectful environment they could thrive . Throughout her lifetime she was an advocate for early childhood education and peace. She travelled the world conducting seminars and trainings.  Over a century has passed since she developed her method of teaching; it has since become an internationally accepted standard for preschool classrooms and beyond. 

The greatest sign of success for a teacher... is to be able to say, 'The children are now working as if I did not exist."
Maria Montessori
Physician, Educator and Advocate for Peace

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for the history lesson on Montessori education. I have always favored this style of learning but was clueless on executing this at home with my own son. He’s 7 now but I don’t think it’s too late for us. We homeschool and I’m very “worksheet-unfriendly” but I think I can do better.

    1. You are so very welcome! It’s definitely not too late for eh Montessori Method of education. There are few schools near me that are Montessori Elementary schools. Maybe you could take a tour of a Montessori school near you and then implement the methods at home. I’m going to post a picture tour of our “classroom” soon. Hopefully it helps and I’m definitely available if you have any questions. Also I am working on the calendar materials list from Instagram, I haven’t forgotten lol.

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