In 1907, she opened her first classroom, the Casa dei Bambini, or Children's House, in a tenement building in Rome. From the beginning, Montessori based her work on her observations of children and experimentation with the environment, materials, and lessons available to them. She frequently referred to her work as "scientific pedagogy".
Montessori continued to extend her work during her lifetime, developing a comprehensive model of psychological development from birth to age 24. As Montessori developed her theory and practice, she came to believe that education had a role to play in the development of world peace. She felt that children allowed to develop according to their inner laws of development would give rise to a more peaceful and enduring civilization.
Montessori observed four distinct periods, or "planes", in human development, extending from birth to six years, from six to twelve, from twelve to eighteen, and from eighteen to twenty-four. She saw different characteristics, learning modes, and developmental imperatives active in each of these planes, and called for educational approaches specific to each period.
Are Montessori children successful later in life?
Research studies show that Montessori children are well prepared for later life academically, socially, and emotionally. In addition to scoring well on standardized tests, Montessori children are ranked above average on such criteria as following directions, turning in work on time, listening attentively, using basic skills, showing responsibility, asking provocative questions, showing enthusiasm for learning, self-help and adapting to new situations.
Do Montessori Schools follow an Academic Year (eg. June to May)?
In Montessori schools, help is offered based on the biological age of the child. Dr. Montessori talks about the interest spurts children have at different ages. Again we offer one on one teaching in a class room. When a teacher plans a child's lesson, the child's age and what he has already learnt in the past are important. The concept of Academic Year and the Program as Mont 1 or Mont 2, etc. are only for administrative purposes. The curriculum is continuous and is offered at the speed at which the child learns.
What special training do Montessori teachers have?
A Montessori Primary teacher must have completed a one year diploma in Primary Montessori education with a recognized Montessori Institute. It is preferable that she holds a Bachelor's degree and has good communication skills.
Why do Montessori classrooms have mixed age group?
This is in accordance with the Montessori Philosophy. It is of great help to the child in his social and language development. It gives him a wonderful opportunity to work as a team, sometimes to lead, sometimes to follow, learn from an older child, help the younger child, interact with peers, etc. At any point in time, there will be older children from whom the younger child picks up languages.
Is it true that Montessori children start writing late and have a bad handwriting?
The Montessori curriculum offers systematic motor and intellectual preparation for the child. We expect the child to start writing at the age of 4. The activities of the Montessori school offers extensive gross and fine motor preparation which is the basis for writing. With that kind of help and preparation, unless there is a biological problem, the child will write.
What is the best way to choose a Montessori school for my child?
Ask if the Principal and teachers are Montessori trained. Visit the school, observe the classroom in action and later ask the teacher or Principal to explain the theory behind the activities you saw.