Children's Academy, our philosophy of education is based
on that of Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952), world
famous educator and observer of children. The focus of
this philosophy is the use of materials, educational
techniques, and observations which support the natural
development of children.
Dr. Montessori believed
that each child has an inner guide who directs the child
toward activities which are appropriate for the growth
of the person the child will become. Therefore, the
teacher in a Montessori classroom serves less as an
"instructor" and more as a guide and facilitator.
Children are encouraged to "learn how to learn," thus
gaining independence and self-confidence. Because the
method is based upon developmentally appropriate
activities, the child often learns through the process
of education--by doing.
In order to develop
physical, intellectual, and spiritual potential to the
fullest, the child must have freedom: a freedom to be
achieved through order and self-discipline. Dr.
Montessori described what she called the prepared
environment, which possesses a certain order and allows
children to learn at their own speed, according to their
own capacities, and in a non-competitive atmosphere.
"Never let children risk failure until they have a
reasonable chance of success."
recognized that the only valid impulse to learning is
self-motivation; children move themselves toward
learning. The teacher prepares the environment, directs
the activity, and offers the child stimulation, but it
is the child who learns, who is motivated through work
itself (not solely by the teacher's personality) to
persist in a given task. If Montessori children are free
to learn, it is because they have acquired an inner
discipline from their exposure to both physical and
This is the foundation
of Dr. Montessori's philosophy. Patterns of
concentration, "stick-to-itiveness" and thoroughness,
established in early childhood, produce a confident,
competent learner in later years. A Montessori
environment helps children learn to observe, to think,
to judge. It introduces children to the joy of learning
at an early age and provides a framework in which
intellectual and social discipline go hand-in-hand.
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Dr. Maria Montessori
In 1896, Maria
Montessori was the first female to graduate from the
University of Rome Medical School. After joining the
staff of the University's Psychiatric Clinic, she became
interested in the
children who were treated there. She devoted her
energies to studying and developing educational theories and
to working directly with these children who began to
learn things that had seemed impossible for them before.
When they took an examination at
a local school, the
children succeeded on a par with the students there. Dr.
theorized that if her methods could be so
effective with children who were mentally disadvantaged,
they might, if used with "normal" children, "develop or
set free their personality in a marvelous and surprising
In 1908, Dr. Montessori
had a chance to use her innovative approach with a group
of children from a slum area in Rome. Within a year, her
accomplishments earned world wide acclaim as a landmark
in the education of young children.
Dr. Montessori spent
her life developing her philosophy. She began
formulating her approach for elementary children in
1912. She founded teacher training centers throughout
the world and eventually wrote 25 books on the various
aspects of her theory and practice.