Madam Maria Montessori was an Italian doctor who later became one of the prominent educationists of the world. Montessori method started as a program for the children who were from poor background. Maria Montessori is the woman after whom it is named. She took a couple of children from the flifthy slums and believed in them. She trusted them (this is what a caregiver is supposed to do right?), she observed them for a long period of time and finally took a decision to make them capable of taking their own care, loving themselves, loving others and respecting the environment. (This is what a responsible human being should be doing right?). The materials she devised for her method are well known as Montessori Apparatus. A Montessori school is called “Children’s House”.
Here are the basic principles of the Montessori philosophy –
1. Development from within
Madam Montessori believed that education of a child is from within. She was of the opinion that education must help in the complete unfolding of the child’s individuality. Suitable environment should be provided so that the child may grow and develop the potential that is within him.
2. The doctrine of freedom of liberty
This doctrine is the outcome of the concept of education as development. Her belief is that there should be no interference in the way of child’s growth and development. The education should be scientific in nature.
3. Individual development
She believed in that every child is unique. He progresses at his own speed and rate. Collective methods of teaching crush his individuality. She treats each child as a separate individual and does not believe in classroom teaching but individual learning. She recommended that the child should be helped and guided in a manner that helps in his progress, growth and development .
4. Principle of scientific self – education
Montessori has shifted the emphasis from teaching to learning. She believed that self educated or auto educated is the only true education. She advocated that the child should remain undisturbed and should be independent. She has devised didactic a that attracts the attention of all the children. It keeps them busy spontaneously. It leads them to learn the power of movements, reading, writing and arithmetic. The letters, numbers are all engraved in wood. The apparatus is self corrective, this means if there is an error the child would automatically know and can correct the error himself.
5. Principle of Sensory Training
Montessori asserts that senses are the gateways of knowledge. She advocates that, sensory training is the key to intellectual development (cognitive). She pointed out that the senses are very active between age span of 3 to 7 years and that a lot of learning takes place during this period. She has designed many materials for sense training. The sensorial material provides a kind of guide to observation because it classifies the impressions that each sense receives the colours, notes, noises, forms and sizes, touch, sensations, odours and tastes.
6. Motor efficiency
She believed that muscular training facilitates other activities like writing, drawing, speaking, etc. She stresses that running, walking, etc all depend on muscular training. Practical life skills are taught to children very methodically like how to talk, dress and also keep their environment clean. In the children’s house, children themselves do everything. They dust the room and the furniture, wash clothes, and do all the things that are done in a family. They learn to wash themselves, to dress and undress. They are also taught to take care of their clothes and belongings.
7. The Directress
She replaced the word “teacher” by the word “Directress” as she thought that the function of the teacher is to direct and not teach. The teacher would not interact much but observe and help the child learn through his own experiences.
8. No place for fairy tales
According to Maria Montessori, children should not be living in a world of fantasy and fairy tales. This would be unnatural for their growth and development.
9. No Materials Rewards and punishments
According to Maria Montessori, they are just artificial methods, resulting in unnatural development. The child should be self motivated and self disciplined.
That’s all for now! Next week I will be sharing some areas and importance of montessori.
PS – Many points presented here picked up directly from my notes of early education.