Dr. Maria Montessori believed that children are born with incredible learning potential and an intrinsic desire to explore, discover, and learn about their world.
Through observations of children, she developed an ingenious and holistic educational method based on human tendencies and designed to help each child reach his or her full potential in all areas of life.
According to Dr. Montessori, the development is not linear and is anthropologically based. She talked about four planes of development: Infancy (0-6 years), Childhood (6-12), Adolescence (12-18), and Maturity (18-24). The Four Planes of Development Theory is based on direct observation of the child which proved that successful completion of one plane leads to the fulfillment of the next one. Each plane is divided into two three-year periods.
During the first plane of development, the child's main task is to become and belong. S/he is guided by his/her powers - the Sensitive periods and The Absorbent Mind.
Between 3 – 6 years of age, the child needs to orient self, classify facts and work with hands to develop intelligence, concentration, and consciousness. Through the activity, the child develops knowledge, will, and memory-making conscious of what was unconscious until his/her 3rd year. The learning is joyful and effortless.
The child together with the prepared adult and environment laid the foundation of the Montessori classroom.
The adult observes and follows the child. "Help me to do it by myself" and "Follow the child" are the key elements in the Montessori philosophy.
Did you know?
Famous Montessori graduates include Anne Frank, Jaqueline Kennedy Onasis, Julia Child, Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon.com), Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Nobel Prize-winning novelist), and Sergey Brin and Larry Page (co-founders of Google who credit their Montessori education for much of their success), The princes of Wales - William and Harry, Bill and Hilary Clinton, Helen Hunt. George Clooney, Michael Douglas, Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia), and many more.
Supporters of the Montessori approach are Dalai Lama, Mahatma Gandhi, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, Jean Piaget, Thomas Edison, and more.