Dr. Maria Montessori
A scientist and a doctor, Maria Montessori studied Human development. In doing so, she developed an approach to learning that works in tandem with the innate tendencies with which children are born. Her pedagogy allows children to learn effortlessly, naturally supporting and acknowledging their needs. On the other hand, most traditional systems require children to deny their innate tendencies; moreover compel them to accept education as a decree, rather than a developmental need.
Education is a powerful tool used to illuminate the Human potential, transform children, and in turn, society. Education is vital, and as parents, you care about it deeply. For years people have strived to discover and create a pedagogy that allows us to guide and enable children to fulfill their Human Potential. Dr. Maria Montessori achieved this idea.
When you walk into a Montessori school that has faithfully implemented Montessori’s ideals, as we have at Harmony Montessori; you will find the profound reasons for which we believe in this approach.
The Montessori Method addresses every child as a whole and unique individual within a mixed-age classroom. We refer to these classrooms as environments, each specially curated to attend to the child’s natural developmental needs.
These environments serve as a second home to the children, with everything child-sized and developmentally appropriate. The magic of the Montessori Method unfolds as the children work with those famous “Montessori Materials.” Tools that aid their development, and help build their intellect, master their body, and their will.
I call them famous because the Montessori Materials are what is most obviously distinctive about the Method. They seek to reveal abstract ideas in a concrete form, accessible to the child’s senses, and later, their intellect.
Hands-on and self-correcting, the material allows the children to walk away from their work experience with the idea that they are self-taught. Through a sequence of activities, where each serves as a building block to the next exercise, they discover the laws of the world, as a result of their exploration.
The Montessori Method acknowledges that children are born with a hunger to learn, grow, adapt, invent, and contribute to society.
They take on challenges like walking or learning multiple languages, and they do so independently. This innate drive to achieve their potential or to continually challenge themselves is sparked from birth.
Our job is to kindle those flames of acquisition and curiosity, to ensure each child is shielded from obstacles. Some of them being things like Praise/Criticism – Rewards/Punishment. While incentives may bring immediate results, in the long run, it compels children to be outcome-oriented, externally driven, and in need of approval.
As Montessori adults, we connect the children to the materials, along with the rest of their environment, and guide them by eliminating obstacles. Children and teachers in our environments don’t have any negative associations with the word “work.” For us, work is an intrinsically rewarding experience; and it’s the term we use to describe all their activities in the environment.
Experience in a Montessori environment allows the child to be relatively fearless or even inspired by developmentally appropriate challenges or problems (within a safe space). They learn to love learning, mainly because they aren’t used to having solutions handed to them. Their experiences make them independent thinkers with a strong sense of self, without and within the community.
Montessori children learn to adapt to situations; they often grow into resilient, empathetic leaders within our little communities. Montessori education is not just preparation for a College/University education; it is preparation for life and is life itself. Enabled with life skills honed and developed, Montessori children step out into a future that is unknown to us. However, empowered by their gifts of adaptability, an insatiable curiosity, a love of learning, and their environment, we know they have the makings of great leaders.
Famous Montessori Educated People
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com
Sergey Brin and Larry Page, co-founders of Google
Prince William and Prince Harry
Will Wright, video game pioneer, creator of the Sims
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Prize winner for Literature
Anne Frank, author, diarist from World War II
Helen Keller, Political activist, author, lecturer, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Helen Hunt, Academy award-winning actor
George Clooney, Academy award-winning actor, director, producer, humanitarian, United Nations Messenger of Peace
Taylor Swift, Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter
Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs, singer
Beyonce Knowles, Singer, songwriter, actress and fashion designer, 16-time Grammy award-winner
Devi Sridhar, Youngest-ever American Rhodes scholar, author, Oxford research fellow and lecturer on global health politics
Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak talks about the US education system and how Montessori schools are teaching independent thinking.
Google Co-Founders Sergey Brin discusses his first computer and his Montessori education.