Dr. Maria Montessori
Born on August 31, 1870, in Chiaravalle, Ancona, Maria Montessori broke from the traditional role of women almost right from the start. At the age of 13, she attended an all-boys academy focusing her studies on mathematics and science. Later, she became the first female doctor in Italy. Her career took an unexpected turn when she started working with disabled children. She devised a new method of education when she saw that the methods of the time were not serving the needs of those children.
Her approach to teaching disabled children was completely new. Instead of the traditional methods that included reading and reciting, she taught the children by using concrete materials. She determined that learning was not memorizing but sensing and experiencing. The disabled children scored higher than average children on the same test and she wondered, "Why can't all children benefit from the same method?"
So it was that she opened the Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House, on January 6, 1907, in the slums of Rome to teach the children of tenement dwellers. News of her new method spread through Italy and beyond.
In 1915, Maria Montessori traveled to the United States to present lectures and demonstrations about the educational philosophy and methodology that she began. Her son, Mario, was a frequent collaborator and travel partner.
Experimental Montessori schools sprang up in the United States over the following years. Her work was overshadowed, however, in the American public schools by John Dewey’s pragmatic approach to education. The Montessori method died away until the late 1950s. Alcuin Montessori School was among the first chartered Montessori schools of this revival, founded in 1961.
Today Dr. Montessori is celebrated as an educational pioneer, humanist, feminist and all around inspirational person!
Interactive timeline of Dr. Montessori's life and work
Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work - EM Standing
History of Montessori Education
Documentary on Maria Montessori
Why a Montessori Education at Kid Ventures
Montessori offers an alternative method of education based on the principle that children want to learn and even teach themselves if the environment is prepared effectively.
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All our Teachers are Certified Montessori Guides
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Parent Teacher Conferences Twice a Year
Certified Chef in the House to Fulfill Your Needs
Top of the Line Indoor Playground
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Montessori vs. Conventional Education
Some Comparisons of Montessori Education with Conventional Education:
Views the child holistically, valuing cognitive, psychological, social, and spiritual development.
Views the child in terms of competence, skill level, and achievement with an emphasis on core curricula standards and social development.
Child is an active participant in learning; allowed to move about and respectfully explore the classroom environment; teacher is an instructional facilitator and guide.
Child is a more passive participant in learning; teacher has a more dominant central role in classroom activity.
A carefully prepared learning environment and method encourages development of internal self- discipline and intrinsic motivation.
Teacher acts a primary enforcer of external discipline promoting extrinsic motivation.
Instruction, both individual and group, adapts to students’ learning styles and developmental levels.
Instruction, both individual and group, adapts to core curricula benchmarks.
Three-year span of age grouping, three-year cycles allow teacher, students, and parents to develop supportive, collaborative and trusting relationships.
Same-age and/or skill level grouping; one-year cycles can limit development of strong teacher, student, and parent collaboration.
Grace, courtesy, and conflict resolution are integral parts of daily Montessori peace curriculum.
Conflict resolution is usually taught separately from daily classroom activity.
Values concentration and depth of experience; supplies uninterrupted time for focused work cycle to develop.
Values completion of assignments; time is tightly scheduled.
Child’s learning pace is internally determined.
Instructional pace usually set by core-curricula standard expectations, group norm, or teacher.
Child allowed to spot own errors through feedback from the materials; errors are viewed as part of the learning process.
Work is usually corrected by the teacher; errors are viewed as mistakes.
Learning is reinforced internally through the child’s own repetition of an activity and internal feelings of success.
Learning is reinforced externally by test scores and rewards, competition and grades.
Care of self and environment are emphasized as integral to the learning experience.
Less emphasis on self-care, spatial awareness, and care of the environment.
Child can work where he/she is comfortable and the child often has choices between working alone or with a group that is highly collaborative among older students.
Child is usually assigned a specific work space; talking among peers discouraged.
Multi-disciplinary, interwoven curriculum.
Curriculum areas usually taught as separate topics.
Child learns to share leadership; egalitarian interaction is encouraged.
Hierarchical classroom structure is more prominent.
Progress is reported through multiple formats: conferences, narrative reports, checklists and portfolio of student’s work.
Progress is usually reported through conferences, report cards/grades, and test scores.
Children are encouraged to teach, collaborate, and help each other.
Most teaching is done by the teacher and collaboration is an alternative teaching strategy.
Child is provided opportunities to choose own work from interest and abilities, concepts taught within context of interest.
Curricula organized and structured for child based on core curricula standards.
Goal is to foster a love of learning.
Goal is to master core curricula objectives.