Montessori is an innovative, child-centered approach to education, developed by Dr Maria Montessori a century ago.
Working with disadvantaged children, Dr. Montessori was struck by how avidly the children absorbed knowledge from their surroundings. Given developmentally appropriate materials and the freedom to follow their interests, they taught themselves in a joyful and explorative manner.
The goal of Montessori education is to foster each child’s natural desire to learn. Montessori teachers support and guide rather than instruct, linking each child with activities and materials that are appropriate to his or her interests, needs, and developmental level. The classroom is designed to allow movement and collaboration, but also encourages concentration and a sense of order. Unique learning materials beckon from accessible shelves, inviting small hands to take on new challenges, one concept or skill at a time.
Benefits of Montessori education
Each child is valued as a unique individual. Montessori education recognises that children learn in different ways and at a different pace. Children are therefore free to learn at their own pace, each advancing through the curriculum as he/she is ready, guided by the teacher and an individualised learning plan.
Montessori students develop order, coordination, concentration, and independence. Classroom design, materials, and daily routines support the children’s emerging “self-regulation” (ability to educate one’s self, and to think about what one is learning), from an early age as toddlers through to adolescence.
Pupils are part of a close, caring community. The multi-age classroom—typically spanning 2-3 years—re-creates a family structure. Older children help out as mentors and role models; younger children feel supported and gain confidence about the challenges ahead. Teachers model respect, loving kindness, and a belief in peaceful conflict resolution.
Montessori pupils enjoy freedom within limits. Working within parameters set by their teachers and by the national primary curriculum, children are active participants in deciding what their focus of learning will be. Internal satisfaction drives the child’s curiosity and interest and results in positive learning experiences that are sustainable over a lifetime.
Children are supported in becoming active seekers of knowledge. Teachers provide environments where students have the freedom and the tools to pursue answers to their own questions.
Self-correction and self-assessment are an integral part of the Montessori classroom approach. As they mature, students learn to look critically at their work, and become adept at recognising, correcting, and learning from their errors.
A Montessori school is not just a school.
It is education for our rapidly changing world.
It is education for life.
Famous Montessori graduate quotes:
“the Montessori education method might be the surest route to joining the creative elite, which are so overrepresented by the schools’ alumni that one might begin to suspect a Montessori mafia’. ‘The Montessori Mafia’, Peter Sims, Wall Street Journal, 5 April 2011
“A number of the innovative entrepreneurs also went to Montessori schools, where they learned to follow their curiosity. To paraphrase the famous Apple ad campaign, innovators not only learned early on to think different, they act different (and even talk different).”
‘How Do Innovators Think?’ Harvard Business Review, 28 September 2009
Well-known graduates of Montessori education include:
- JEFF BEZOS – founder of Amazon
- SERGEY BRIN & LARRY PAGE – Google founders
- WILL WRIGHT – video game pioneer, creator of the Sims
- PETER DRUCKER – author, Management consultant, “social ecologist”
- ERIK ERIKSON – Psychologist & author
- KATHARINE GRAHAM – Pulitzer prize-winning author, former owner & editor of the Washington Post
- GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ – Nobel prize-winning author
- HM QUEEN NOOR of JORDAN – U.N. Advisor, humanitarian activist, wife of the late King Hussein of Jordan
- JACQUELINE KENNEDY ONASSIS – Former first lady and doubleday editor
- ANNE FRANK – Memoirist & author
- FRIEDENSREICH HUNDERTWASSER – Viennese artist & architect
- JOSHUA BELL – world renowned violinist
- DAVID BLAINE – illusionist & magician
- JULIA CHILD – celebrity chef & author
- GEORGE CLOONEY – academy award-winning actor, director, producer
- SEAN “P Diddy” COMBS – award-winning recording artist and CEO of Bad Boy Records
- JOHN and JOAN CUSACK – actors
- HELEN HUNT – Academy award-winning actor
- HELEN KELLER – political activist, author, lecturer
- BEYONCE KNOWLES – singer, songwriter, actress and fashion designer
- YO YO MA – cellist, United nations Peace Ambassador, winner of 15 Grammy Awards
- TAYLOR SWIFT – Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter