As the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome and the first woman doctor in Italy, she was first drawn to children through treating children with, what today we call, children with special needs. As a trained physician she observed children as a scientist, using the classroom as her laboratory and finding ways to help them achieve their potential.
Following on from the success of her first ‘Children’s Houses’, Maria Montessori’s approach became recognised as a highly effective method of teaching which could be used with great success for each and every individual child. She travelled the world demonstrating her techniques, giving lectures, teaching and writing books.
Dr Montessori discovered that children learn best through doing and being happy and self- motivated, following their own inner needs. This will, she believed, promote confidence, understanding and a desire to learn more. This is similar to today’s idea that children learn through play.
She created specially designed materials to foster independence and a love of learning. Many of which you can see at The Children’s House today.
We do not know exactly what skills the children will need when they become adults in tomorrow’s world, but we can encourage them to become creative thinkers and develop an understanding of other people and cultures. This will help them to tackle and resolve future challenges.
Montessori teachers undertake a large degree of training in child development providing them with a greater knowledge of how children learn. Through observation, their understanding and respect of how children learn, each child’s current needs, the environment and activities are adapted accordingly.
At the Children’s House we have children from 2 to 6 years of age. The mixed ages within the school enables the younger ones to learn from watching the older children and the older children benefit from helping the younger ones. This is an important part of social development as well as aiding intellectual and emotional development.
Mistakes are a means of learning. For example spilling drinks, breaking a pot or building a bridge that keeps falling down provide wonderful learning opportunities for the children to enjoy.
“I did it all by myself” is a statement the children say every day when they come running up to us with big smiles having just zipped up their coat for the first time or matched up the letter sounds with the objects. The children don’t need rewards or stickers, but develop their self-respect naturally. And children who feel self-respect, naturally learn to respect others as well
If you’d like to know more about the Montessori approach, please ask for details of books, magazines and seminars which are available.