As a new or expecting parent, you may have heard of the term "Montessori" used to describe certain classes or the concept of a school or Kita.
In this article, Katelynn Johnson, the founder of Montessori Mother ELC, Germany’s 1st Montessori Early Learning Center, will share with us an explanation of Montessori, where it comes from and why it’s important. Because:
Montessori is so much more than beautiful rooms with wooden toys on shelves.
What is Montessori?
The Montessori method fosters independence and self-direction through the thoughtful design of each material, through the child-sized layout of the environment, and through the way the adult interacts with the child. This is because it has been found that when children have more control over their learning, they work harder, perform better, retain more information, and are more creative and joyful.
Through Montessori education, children gain a love for learning, reach their full potential, and become free-thinking individuals who make this world a better place.
Montessori is education for peace.
In a Montessori "classroom," children can:
• choose materials specific to their interest and stage of development • exercise freedom of movement • examine and discover with all their senses • follow their own pace • repeat an activity as many times as they want • work without interruptions
See our follow-up article on what a Montessori school looks like for more details.
It was Maria Montessori’s belief that children are naturally peaceful, interested in learning, and have a need to fit into the society and culture in which they were born. She knew that through child-led education in a prepared environment, children could reach their full potential and become independent, free-thinking adults.
A brief history of Montessori education
Maria Montessori is the founder of the Montessori method – and did you know that she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times?
Dr. Maria Montessori was born in 1870 and became one of the first female medical specialists in Italy. Montessori became specialized in nervous illnesses and started working in a mental asylum for patients of all ages. It was here that Maria Montessori first noticed that the children loved to work with their hands and gradually she became interested exclusively in children.
She spent many hours with mentally disabled children and prepared materials for them to learn how to read and write. At state examinations, her students achieved even higher marks than the national standard, after which Maria Montessori understood that traditional schools in general were not adequately developing the human potential.
In 1907 Dr. Montessori opened the first Casa dei Bambini for children 3 to 6 years old and her students quickly became a worldwide sensation.
In 1913 she gave her first international training course in Rome. Teachers and doctors from around the world came to listen to her lectures. During her lifetime Montessori expanded her approach beyond 3-6 years old to children of all ages, from pregnancy to 18 years old. Maria Montessori and her family also started the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) to preserve the integrity of the Montessori method. AMI still upholds the highest standards of Montessori education globally.
Montessori education is now the most popular education method in the world, used in 25,000 schools in 144 countries, and is time-tested by over 100 years of child-led learning.
Dr. Montessori tells us to remember the importance of observation with our own children, to approach them with trust, respect, and love, to provide opportunities for their natural development and then sit back to marvel at what they can achieve, without any interference from us. She says simply:
“I observed little children. I sensed their needs. I tried to fulfill them. They call that the Montessori method” – Dr. Maria Montessori
Montessori Mother ELC (Early Learning Center) in Berlin offers a variety of different Montessori playgroups and classes, from newborn through 7 years of age. Be sure to sign up early to secure a spot!