Dr. Maria Montessori discovered through scientific observations of children that they are not empty vessels to be filled — they are intrinsically motivated doers. She saw that providing a hands-on learning environment that valued choice, concentration, collaboration, community, curiosity, and real-world application produced lifelong learners who viewed “work” as something interesting and fulfilling. Now, research in psychology and neuroscience continually validates Dr. Montessori’s conclusions about children and learning.
Montessori is a philosophy which believes that a child has immense capacity to absorb and learn between the ages of 0 to six. The child's brain functions like a sponge, absorbing everything in the environment (home, school, playground, market, everywhere) he/she is in. Nature has created humans to learn by doing, and not by instinct alone. This is the reason why the human hands and brain have developed far ahead than any other living organism on earth. Similarly, a child must learn through using his/her hands as the instruments of knowledge. And every bit of knowledge that we acquire is a step towards applying it in the world we live in, whether it is language, mathematics, science or basic values in grace and courtesy.
Who is Maria Montessori?
Students in a Montessori classroom are free to move about the room and are provided varying types of work spaces — tables, floor mats, and low-lying tables called “chowkies.” They’re given large blocks of time — generally around three hours — in which they choose their work and participate in one-on-one presentations or small group lessons. There are no grades or tests. Instead, assessments are occurring daily through the teachers’ keen observations of the children. It is expected that the children will use their time in a productive way. At the end of each semester, teachers provide each student and his or her parents with an overview of the student’s progress, pointing out areas that need improvement.