The Montessori philosophy states “carried unseen within each child is the person that the child can become. To develop his/her physical, intellectual and spiritual powers to the fullest, the child must have FREEDOM - a freedom achieved through order and self-discipline.” • Dr. Maria Montessori was a scientist, a scholar, and the first woman doctor in Italy. She believed that children should be “given the universe.” If children were presented with the universe in its entirety, they would be stimulated to explore and find order in its contents, and to discover their own purpose in the cosmos. 9 • Dr. Montessori developed what she called “the prepared environment.” It featured an ordered arrangement of learning materials in a non-competitive atmosphere that helps each child develop at his/her own rate. Appropriate sized furniture and a freedom to move satisfies the physical body. • The years between three and size are those when a child learns the ground rules of human behavior most easily. These years can be devoted constructively to preparing the child to take his/her place in society through the acquisition of good manners and habits. • Things on a grand scale fascinate children between the ages of six and twelve. It is important to embrace these larger concepts while children are ripe for exploration and once children’s imaginations are struck, the potential for independent learning blossoms. • The child may work independently or in groups using concrete materials. The teaching materials are designed to test understanding and to help the child identify errors at every step. • Dr. Montessori recognized that self-motivation is the only valid impulse to learning. Children naturally move themselves towards learning. The teacher prepares the environment, develops the activities, and facilitates the child’s development. The child is free to learn because he/she acquired an “inner discipline” from exposure to both physical and mental order. This is the core of Montessori’s philosophy. Habits of concentration, perseverance, and thoroughness established in early childhood produces a competent learner in later years. For additional information on Maria Montessori, the Montessori philosophy and practices or on any other parenting questions, see the school’s Edline page or the American Montessori Society web page at www.amshq.org.
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