What is Montessori?
The greatest sign of success for a teacher ... is to be able to say, 'The children are now working as if I did not exist' – Maria Montessori
Montessori is an approach to early education that focuses on the immense capacity of children to absorb information when given the freedom and independence to learn at their own pace. It takes its name from Dr. Maria Montessori whose scientific background and belief in the potential and uniqueness of children empowered her to develop an educational approach that appreciates how children's thought processes differ from those of adults.
Her insights and approach to child development have been enormously influential all over the world, both through what has become the Montessori movement and through mainstream education, which has gradually accepted many of her practices.
What makes the Montessori approach different, and what makes it work so well, is that it is based on a deep understanding of the way children learn, through choosing, trying and doing for themselves. When allied to the availability of specially developed materials in a prepared environment, and the close observation and guidance of a Montessori-trained teacher, this leads to an enormously powerful confidence-building approach to learning.
Our approach relies on a balance between freedom and structure:
The children are free to choose many of their own activities and so explore and discover for themselves.
Although the curriculum is structured, the children move through it at their own pace. We introduce them to new activities, on a one-to-one basis, when they are ready.
We offer a warm, supportive and yet challenging environment and we are ever mindful of the fact that the children have not yet developed a reliable sense of danger.
It is an orderly environment; the materials are all within reach and everything has its own place so that everyone knows where to find it. This fosters confidence and independence.
For more information on Montessori visit www.montessori.org.uk.