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Dr.  Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952)

black and white photograph of elderly Dr. Montessori interacting with a young child …was born in Italy and was the first woman in that country to be admitted to medical school.   Dr. Montessori was gifted in sharing a philosophy that gives hope to mankind.  This exciting philosophy is based on a wonderful combination of scientific observation, idealism, and common sense.  Dr. Montessori believed that the child is the inevitable creator of humankind – it is the vision of the children of today being a whole new society of tomorrow.  Respect for all forms of life is at the core of the Montessori philosophy and the child is viewed as the hope of the future.

Dr. Montessori discovered that in order for children to learn, practical and accessible materials should be prepared for them, and materials should be child sized.  During her observation, she realized that children should be given the freedom to choose.  This freedom brings a great degree of independence.  She observed that when children are occupied in their tasks, they are more relaxed and peaceful.  The right environment is especially important and effective in the development of a child’s education.

In a Montessori classroom, children learn how to work independently, under the careful supervision of an educator trained to work with children.  Each child is generally in the same class for three years.  This creates a strong bond between child, parents, and teacher.  Multi-age grouping allows the child to move on at an individualized pace.  Teachers keep detailed records and notes about each child’s lessons.  Progress in academic, social, and emotional development is also noted and detailed summary reports are prepared for parent conferences.

It is this combination of practical life, mathematical skills, reading, writing, and a respect and understanding of nature that makes a Montessori child a unique person.

Today there are approximately five thousand private and two hundred public Montessori schools in the United States.  Montessori schools are recognized and respected the world over for creating a learning environment that fosters initiative, self-esteem, and the joy of learning.

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