Maria Montessori

Dr. Maria Montessori was one of the most important early years educators in the 20th century. Since she established the Children’s House or Casa dei Bambini in Rome in 1907, she had dedicated her whole life to creating educational methods based on the scientific methods of observation of children and their developmental needs. Her methods were so thorough, successful, and revolutionary that they have lead to a profound and growing influence on education around the world well into the 21st century. She was often called the "Mother of the Early Childhood Education".

Currently, the Montessori movements spread across the world, with schools and institutions forming in places as widely separated as United Kingdom, America, Italy, Australia, Japan, Korea, China, to name only some. Her methods of education have since been incorporated into mainstream education in many countries.

An important reason that her methods are so well received and accepted by many people throughout the world is because unlike many educational philosophers, Montessori developed an educational method to implement her philosophy. Firstly, her whole approach to education was in the spirit of constant scientific experimentation based on observation of children. She began with a deep respect for children as unique individuals. She observed the children to understand their natural developmental growth pattern and needs, and thereafter designed a developmentally appropriate approach to support each of the children’s unique abilities and innate needs. Secondly, from her observations, she realized that children learn best through doing, not by passively accepting other people’s ideas and pre-existing knowledge. She had therefore developed comprehensive didactic materials to cater to their needs. These materials are inherently interesting, involve movement and engage children’s tactile senses, and come with built in control of error for the purpose of auto-education. Children are free to choose from any of the materials and work with them at their own pace and rhythm, according to their individual needs and capabilities.

In short, Montessori method of education is based on the scientific observation of the children and their developmental needs. A nourishing environment is then designed to accommodate each of their needs for self-construction and to assist them to reach their fullest potential.