Maria Montessori

was

an

Italian

physician,

educator,

philosopher,

humanitarian

and

devout

Catholic.

She

is

best

known

for

her

philosophy

and

the

Montessori

method

of

education

for

children

from

birth

to

adolescence.

Her

educational

method

is

in

use

today

in

thousands of schools, either public or private, throughout the world.

Maria

Montessori

was

born

on

31

August

1870

in

Italy.

The

family

moved

to

Rome

when

Maria

was

5

years

old.

Her

parents

decided

she

should

become

a

teacher,

so

to

receive

the

education

to

prepare

for

her

career

the

family

moved

to

Rome,

where

Maria

attended

school

and

later

studied.

The

study

of

biology

interested

her

greatly

and

she

persuaded

her

parents

to

allow

her

to

undertake

medical

studies.

Maria

graduated

as

the

first

woman

in

Italy

with

the

degree

of

Doctor

of

Medicine

from

the

University

of

Rome in 1896.

When

Maria

was

appointed

Assistant

Doctor

in

the

Psychiatric

Clinic

in

Rome,

she

became

intrigued

with

trying

to

educate

the

special

needs

children.

After

giving

a

lecture

at

the

Educational

Congress

in

Torino

in

1899

the

Minister

of

Education

appointed her as the director of the new State Orthophrenic school.

Maria accepted in order to put her theories to proof.

She

studied

the

works

of

the

2

French

doctors

Edouard

Seguin

and

Jean-Marc

Itard

and

developed

a

variety

of

didactic

materials.

In

1901

she

again

returned

to

university

to

study

philosophy

and

psychology.

After

successful

completion

of

her studies, she was appointed professor of Pedagogic Anthropology at Rome University.

The

very

first

Montessori

school,

the

Casa

dei

bambini

(Children’s

House)

was

opened

on

6

January

1907.

The

success

of

this school sparked the opening of many more, and a worldwide interest in Montessori's method of education.

Maria

Montessori

devoted

her

lifetime

to

the

study

of

child

development.

Her

early

work

centred

on

women's

rights

and

social

reform

and

evolved

to

encompass

a

totally

innovative

approach

to

education.

Her

success

in

Italy

led

to

international

recognition,

and

for

over

40

years

she

travelled

all

over

the

world,

lecturing,

writing,

and

establishing

training programs.

In

later

years,

'Educate

for

Peace'

became

a

guiding

principle,

which

underpinned

her

work.

She

died

in

the

Netherlands

in 1952 at the age of 81 whilst preparing a lecture tour to Africa.

Montessori Education
Traditional Education
The individual child is taken care of
All children are treated alike
Integrated age groups with a 3 year age mix
The ages are separated
Freedom to move and work within the classroom
Assigned seats and specific class periods
Long work periods with few interruptions
Frequent interruptions
Individual learning
Group learning
The children learn by handling the educational materials
The teacher lectures
Children complete the work cycle at their own pace
Activity cycles are determined by time
The emphasis is on concrete learning experiences
Emphasis on abstract learning
It is a child centered learning environment
The class is teacher centered
The intrinsic motivation of the child is supported
Rewards and punishments are used
Experiences are reality orientated
Much role-playing and fantasy
The parents are involved
Parents are kept away
The environment supports the development of self-discipline
The teacher disciplines the children
Non-competitive
Competitive
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