On January 6th 1907, just over 116 years ago, Dr Maria Montessori opened the doors of her first school. She said and predicted:
“I was inflamed and said that this work we were undertaking would prove to be very important and that someday people would come from all over the world to see it.”
Boy was she right about that!
We look to her as a first in many respects. Even non-Montessori educators owe a lot of what they do to her innovations and submissions about how to educate the child.
Montessori’s influence on our education system is grand.
Let’s check it out in brief:
- Do you believe that education is a science at the core of its practice? Well, that was where she started and took root. She always referred to what she was doing as the scientific method of education!
- Education for her was meant to prepare children for life, Maria Montessori advocated a lot of activities to learn. Exploration and tactile handling is core to the method. This is where the learning by doing play way themes came from.
- The Personal Educational Plan used both in the health and education sectors is a core component of the Montessori method. As a Montessori directress, each teacher has a specific plan for each child in the class.
- Child psychology is now an important part of the education syllabus. Montessori was the first to include this in training teachers. She broke this down through observation and enabled us to look first at the child, understanding him, his needs interests and developmental growth. Anyone who engages with a child this way cannot but begin to understand what is needed for the effective education of the child.
- The child has rights and must be free. Maria Montessori saw that freedom encouraged well-being and growth in the child. Freedom of choice and movement are just the beginning. Sometimes, even in today’s world, some still struggle to understand this!
Even Positive Discipline, took its cue from her thoughts on how to help children develop right with out fear. She believed that self-directed activities developed concentration, independence and self-control. This would lead to self-discipline.
Yes, the Montessori way may be over 100 years old, but just as she predicted, it is still relevant and has a lot to offer our world as we look to effectively educate our children.