Montessori Method

What is Montessori?

Maria Montessori was an Italian scientist in the early 1900s that knew how to observe human nature and who dedicated her life to creating the best environment that could support every child’s development – her life’s work is now known as The Montessori Method of education.

It is a revolutionary method of observing and supporting the natural development of children.  Montessori educational practice helps children develop creativity, problem solving, social, and timemanagement skills, to contribute to society and the environment, and to become fulfilled persons in their particular time and place on Earth. The basis of Montessori practice in the classroom is  respected individual choice of research and work, and uninterrupted concentration rather than group lessons led by an adult.

“I have studied the child. I have taken what the child has given me and expressed it and that is what is called the Montessori Method.”

Dr. Maria Montessori

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Montessori treasure – the Absorbent Mind

The "absorbent mind" refers to the mind's capacity to take in information and sensations from the world that surrounds it.

Young children are a testament to the mind's awesome ability to absorb. A baby is born without language, and with few skills other than their survival instinct. From birth to three years they use their senses (hands, eyes, ears, and nose) to soak in everything that surrounds them. The child does this naturally, and without thought or choice. Maria Montessori referred to this period as the 'unconscious creation'.

The information that the child unconsciously absorbs from his surroundings in the early years is used to construct and create himself. Within a few short years a child is walking, talking, and able to feed himself. It is this awesome ability to absorb information that allows children to acquire the language, physical skills (walking, control of his hands), and control over his bodily functions that are necessary for future independence.

Around the age of three years, the child moves from the state of the unconscious absorbent mind, to the state of the conscious absorbent mind. It is during this conscious state of mind that the child begins to intentionally direct and focus his attention on experiences that will develop that which was created during the first three years.

The fundamental task of the child during this phase of conscious absorption (3-6 years) is intellectual development and freedom. His mind compels him to sort through, order, and make sense of the information he unconsciously absorbed. It is through this order of his intelligence that the child gains the freedom to move purposely, to concentrate, and to choose his own direction.

„The 'absorbent mind' welcomes everything, puts its hope in everything, accepts poverty equally with wealth, adopts any religion and the prejudices and habits of its countrymen, incarnating all in itself. This is the child!”

Dr. Maria Montessori

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The four planes of development

“We discovered that education is not something that the teacher does, but that is a natural prrocess which develops spontaneously in the human being.”

Dr. Maria Montessori

The four Planes (or phases) of development is an overall vision of Montessori's developmental psychology from infancy to adulthood. Her vision of the whole of development provides a holistic view of the developing human being and explains the constant Montessori idea of the importance of education as a "help to life". It is this cosmic view of development, this understanding of the cyclical and non-repeatable nature of 'the seasons of developing life that constitutes one of the great distinguishing features of Montessori's work.

 
  Planes-of-Development-triangle-chart

The sensitive periods

Maria Montessori noticed how the child, in the first 6 years of life, undergoes certain time periods when he is attracted particularly by certain aspects of the physical environment and incarnates certain characteristics and abilities necesary for human existance – language, movement, order, small objects, social interaction, reading and writing etc.

These sensitive periods can overlap and support each other, they last a limited period of time and, by the age of 6, they almost dissapear. The periods offer a guiding timeline for an optimal natural development. Montessori puts high value in supporting self-expression from 6 years old, in the child’s first stage of development.

“Follow the child as he was his own lider.”

Dr. Maria Montessori

Other information sources

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