The Montessori Method
• Montessori is based on years of patient observation and study of children by Dr. Maria Montessori, who was a scientist educated and qualified for this task. She was a medical doctor, a student of psychology, and a professor of anthropology, a science which is concerned with man in a unique way. She worked out her methods and developed the materials by letting the children show her what worked and what did not. It is not a “franchise” or “patented” operation. It is in the public domain. There are responsible organizations (such as the American Montessori Society) which operate on behalf of its proper development in this country.
• Montessori has proven itself to be of universal application. Within a single generation, it has been tried successfully with children of almost every civilized nation. Climate, nationality, social rank, or type of civilization make no difference to its successful application. There are many well-developed Montessori schools throughout North, South, and Central America, Europe, and the Far East.
• Montessori has revealed the small child as a lover of order and of intellectual work, spontaneously chosen and carried out with profound joy; capable of concentration and eager to learn for the joy of learning.
• At a Montessori school, most Teachers are provided with Teacher Assistants, relieving them of a lot of routine duties so they can concentrate on teaching and responding to the children’s needs. The school’s unique structure gives children the unusual opportunity to work at their own pace.
• Though Montessori does away with the necessity of coercion by means of rewards and punishments, it achieves a higher discipline. It is an active
discipline which originates within the child and is achieved through a spontaneous concentration on work which he has chosen. Children with extremely active and curious minds are stimulated and utilize their intellectual energies constructively.
• Montessori is based on a profound respect for the child’s personality and removes from him the preponderant influences of the adult, thus leaving him room to grow in biological independence. The child is allowed a large measure of liberty (not license) and he learns to handle it with responsibility.
• Montessori enables the teacher to deal with each child individually in each subject, and thus guide him according to his individual requirements. Each child works at his own pace, hence the quick child is not held back by the slow, nor is the latter, in trying to keep up with the former, obliged to flounder along hopelessly out of his depth. Each stone in the mental edifice is “well and truly laid” before the next is added.
• Montessori does away with pressure and its train of baneful results. More than this, at every turn, it presents endless opportunities among the children for mutual help — which is joyfully given and gratefully received. Since the child works from his own free choice, without pressure and coercion, he is free from strain, feeling inferior, and other experiences which are apt to be the unconscious cause of mental disturbances in later life.
• The Montessori Method develops the whole personality of the child, not merely his intellectual faculties but also his powers of deliberation, initiative, and independent choice, with their emotional complements. By living as a free member in a real social community, the child is trained in those fundamental social qualities which forms the basis of good citizenship.