June 28, 2012

The Montessori Philosophy

The Montessori philosophy is a set of principles about the human being from which Dr. Maria Montessori drew an educational pedagogy. As a physician, Dr. Montessori came to be involved with young children. Through scientific observation, she came to see how children interact with their environment and the human beings within it. She had great interest in observing how they learn as they used the materials she created.

Dr. Montessori discovered that the child’s own psyche has specific needs and dispositions which determined the pace and direction of his/her inner development.

It is the child who creates his/her unique personality through exploration with materials and activities. This occurs with the interaction of his/her peers. It is only in an individuals’ community that one can realize their fullest potential.

Education has an indispensable role in the development of individuals from birth into adulthood. It should be an aid, a support, and an experience, an adventure and guidance for the child in the task of self-development.

This development occurs in stages, which correspond, to what is called infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. These stages show specific needs and psychological characteristics, which distinctly separate an infant from a child, a child from an adolescent and an adolescent from an adult.

The Montessori philosophy of education not only deals with the appropriate and opportune use of developmental stages in children, an updated and rich curriculum, and dynamic and brilliant interactive and autodidactic materials; but, also encompasses an approach to and a preparation for life itself. Seeking to bring all components into balance.

The stages of development are pertinent in the Montessori philosophy, as they represent the difference between the child and the adult. This is the foundation of the Montessori pedagogy.

Children are continually changing and developing. Adults have already reached the norm of society’s demands. Education must compliment the changes and development with each child as they enter each new stage of development.

Educators must be aware of and prepare to deal with new sensitive periods and the specific characteristics, as they become evident. Montessori, therefore, organizes for the child the means that are necessary for his/her own internal development in accordance with the child’s disposition and the characteristics of his/her specific age. Through this means, the child’s interest and concentration is obtained, so that education does not become an external imposition, but a response to the internal needs and demands of the child.

Dr. Montessori’s philosophy also concerns itself with a development of wholeness through the combined involvement of hand and mind, body and spirit. Manipulative play a large role in the development of the intellect and in Montessori education it is unacceptable to develop one at the expense of the other.

The philosophy of Montessori is to release a spirit in the child that is unique to humankind, which, through love and education, should bring this generation to a peaceful, interdependent world.

Please visit our future blogs regarding the Montessori Education, The child (his/her absorbent mind and sensitive periods), the environment and the teacher.