Dr. Maria Montessori began developing her approach to education in Europe in the first half of the last century. Since then, Montessori schools have became common in Europe, and all over the world, and have been growing in popularity in North America since the 1960s.
The goal of the Montessori method is to help the child develop a love of learning and ability to think for themselves.
The Montessori method is based on respect for the child and recognition of the child’s keen desire to learn. It provides a balanced educational program that addresses all aspects of the child’s development: intellectual, social, spiritual, emotional, physical, and aesthetic.
This is done by providing freedom within a structured environment. The Montessori classroom is a carefully planned environment, with special materials for hands-on use by the children. The teacher directs each child individually towards what they are most ready for at their particular stage of development.
This approach fosters independent, self motivated, goal-directed children. Because the children are treated as individuals, with respect, they learn to respect themselves and each other. This also leads to better self-esteem for the children.
Dr. Montessori was a three-time Nobel prize nominee for her contributions to education.