In honor of Montessori Education Week we thought we’d introduce you to the woman behind the method.
Maria Montessori was an Italian physician that lived at the turn of the 20th century. She graduated from the University of Rome and became the first female physician in Rome!
Early in her career, she was appointed as the medical director of a school that had previously been an asylum for children that were labeled as “deficient and insane.” Montessori saw the potential in these children and recognized that what they needed was stimulation, purposeful activity, and self-esteem. The methods she devised to teach these children were a huge success and because
Unfortunately, Montessori was not allowed access to school-aged children in Italy. Instead she was put in charge of a preschool program in the slum district of Rome. The first Children’s House (Casa de Bambini) opened in 1906 and in this school, Montessori was able to create the “prepared environment” that she believed would be beneficial to the children’s learning experience. She quickly discovered that even though these children were behaviorally challenged, they were drawn to the hands-on learning experiences they were presented with and able to concentrate on the tasks at hand.
“To Montessori’s amazement, children three and four years old took the greatest delight in learning practical everyday living skills that reinforced their independence and self-respect. Each day they begged her to show them more, even applauding with delight when Montessori taught them the correct use of a handkerchief to blow one’s own nose. Soon the older children were taking care of the school, assisting their teacher with the preparation and serving of meals and the maintenance of a spotless environment. Their behavior as a group changed dramatically from that of street urchins running wild to models of grace and courtesy. It was little wonder that the press found such a human-interest story appealing and promptly broadcast it to the world.”1
“I followed these children, studying them, studied them closely, and they taught me how to teach them.”encyclopedia.com
During her lifetime, Maria Montessori was a well-known social activist, advocating on behalf of children’s and women’s rights. She developed a program called Education for Peace and was twice nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. She was acknowledged as one of the world’s leading educators, although the field of education was not one she had wanted to enter because it was seen as a “traditional” role for women.
In the early 1900s, Montessori Education came to America. Unlike its roots with underprivileged children in Rome, here it catered to children from wealthy families that were trying to give their children the best possible education. Prominent figures like Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison were fans of the Montessori method.
After World War I, the push for a more progressive, traditional approach to education came and the popularity of the Montessori Method briefly declined. But in the 1950s when many people were unhappy with the methods of traditional education, America saw a resurgence of Montessori.
“In the early twenty-first century, there is a growing consensus among many psychologists and develop-mental educators that [Montessori’s] ideas and educational model were decades ahead of their time.”1encyclopedia.com
Many well-known personalities in America went to Montessori schools and have given Montessori education credit for their success. (Steph Curry, Julia Child, the founders of Google and the CEO of Amazon are among them.)
The benefits of Montessori are clear. Ask any parent
If you live in the Apple Valley/Rosemount/Farmington/Lakeville area and are looking for a loving environment that provides foundational Montessori education for your infant, toddler or preschooler, we would love to tell you more about our programs and to schedule a tour.
Check out our website at www.allstarsmontessori.com or give us a call at 952-432-2422.