Our Montessori Philosophy
Dr Maria Montessori began her educational journey teaching children in a mental institution; with her appropriate techniques she made a real difference. A number of the retarded children made such significant progress, that when she entered them in mainstream examinations they outperformed other children educated in ordinary schools. Montessori then realized that something must be wrong with the mainstream teaching for this to have happened and she set about researching how children could be better taught.
In 1907 Montessori was appointed as the director of a nursery for 50 three- to six-year olds in a slum area of Rome, set up by the housing authority to keep the children off the streets. And so began the first "Casa dei Bambini".
Montessori used the same techniques she had used at the mental institution, allowing the children to work independently and to choose the activities that interested them. She was led by the children and carefully observed how they learnt and what materials they chose to use. She noticed that as the children worked with the materials they developed considerable powers of concentration and self -discipline. She developed new materials and discarded any that did not appeal to the children. She developed the theories of the Montessori Method based on careful observation of what children revealed about their developmental needs.
Montessori education is driven by an ambitious aim: To aid the child's development into a complete adult human being, comfortable with himself, with his society and with humanity as a whole.
Whereas the traditional approach to education, which prevails today, remains focused on the transmission of prescribed blocks of knowledge, the Montessori approach is focused on giving support to the natural development of the human being. This is done with the understanding that the fully developed human being is then better disposed to learning the things that he needs to become an integrated and contributing member of society. The substance of the human being - the development of character and integration of the whole personality, are traditionally approached as values that must be instilled into the child. The result is children who are bored or stressed and a society with increasing levels of mental illness.
One of the core values of the Montessori Philosophy is to develop independence in each child. Parents can help at home by having their children do chores that are appropriate for their age. The children actually derive a lot of pleasure from being able to do things for themselves.Today, as it was a century ago, education is rightly seen as a means to tackle poverty, inequality, anti-social behavior and other ills of society. From before birth it is the child that guides its own development. The fundamental problem with traditional education is the lack of faith in the child to continue to guide his own development - and to guide the educators in supporting this task.