The Montessori method of education was introduced and developed by an Italian physician, Maria Montessori. During the early twentieth century, Dr. Maria was appointed as the co-director of a new institution called the Orthophrenic School in Rome. Maria began to espouse her theory which stated that the irresponsibility arrives due to the lack of assistance for mentally and developmentally disabled children. She utilised her observations of mistreatment of children to understand all she could about children with mental disorders which by and by led to the formation of her new form of education.
Maria began to assemble many different activities and materials which would enhance a child’s environment. She realised that children had the power of educating themselves in an environment where activities and materials are designed to support their natural development. The method prospects a child as naturally anxious for knowledge and capable of instigating learning process in a well-designed learning environment. It is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children. It attempts to develop children physically, ethically, socially and emotionally.
Montessori along with her colleagues were very unwilling about the environment children had been facing until then. They got over with a fine-tooth comb to observe children to know about their needs. Thus, they developed their senses and organising materials to teach them in an effective manner. The children soon began to hold expertise in activities like cooking their own meals, doing their own work, washing dishes, caring for plants and eventually moved on to academic pursuits more efficaciously. In the fullness of time, these children performed exceedingly well.
The parents of a tenement building who had young children were facing a very common problem. They had to work for long days and apparently, they couldn’t leave them alone at home to look after themselves. This gave an idea to the manager of the residence who thought that the best way to address this problem could be a primary school. On that account, Montessori was given an opportunity to run this school in Rome after her journey at Orthophrenic school.
The first Montessori environment – Casa dei Bambini was later established in 1907 at San Lorenzo. Once again, Dr. Montessori was all set to support the development of children. This soon expanded to subject areas as well. It was having a profoundly positive impact on the families, and in turn, the entire neighbourhood. Since the start, Maria’s work was based on her observations about children, lessons available to them and experimentation with the environment.
Maria was steadfast about advancing child- centered approach to education. She prepared a program to train teachers in the Montessori Method. She had the courage to begin wherefore she succeeded. Through her unfailing efforts, Montessori education system was recognised worldwide. It eventually reached throughout the world.
“THE GREATEST GIFTS WE CAN GIVE OUR
CHILDREN ARE THE ROOTS OF RESPONSIBILITY AND THE WINGS OF INDEPENDENCE.”
– DR. MARIA MONTESSORI