"Scientific observation has established that education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment. The task of the teacher becomes that of preparing a series of motives of cultural activity, spread over a specially prepared environment, and then refraining from obtrusive interference. Human teachers can only help the great work that is being done, as servants help the master. Doing so, they will be witnesses to the unfolding of the human soul and to the rising of a New Man who will not be a victim of events, but will have the clarity of vision to direct and shape the future of human society. " - Maria Montessori Education for a New World
Philosophy and Approach
Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was born in Italy and became known throughout the world as a great educational innovator. In 1896 she became the first woman in Italy to finish medical school with a degree in neuropathology. Trained in science and medicine, she used her skillful powers of observation to analyze young children’ s most natural and effective learning strategies that she found rooted in a series of sensitive periods. To enhance these early learning periods, she then designed an ingenious series of hands-on educational materials, reproductions of which are still used in Montessori classrooms on every continent.
More important than her materials, however, is Maria Montessori’s philosophy that allows both teachers and parents to have a very comfortable and fruitful relationship with youngsters. Basic to all her efforts for reform is her conviction that civilization can be saved by children who are respectful, responsible, and resourceful. For over 100 years in Montessori schools all over the world, including Community Montessori School, children are respected as individuals, nourished by caring adults and educated for peace.
For more information on Montessori's life and work, please visit Montessori bio (NAMTA).