Maria Montessori, a medical doctor, anthropologist and pedagogue, studied children from various ethnic, cultural and economic backgrounds over a period of fifty years.  Her scientific observation of the child from birth to adolescence gave her the opportunity to concentrate on the philosophical, psychological and pedagogical principles.  This with auto-didactic equipment, came to be known as Montessori Education.

The Montessori Method offers a wide vision of education as an “aid to life”.  It is successful because it is designed to guides children from birth to adulthood.  It is flexible and allows the child to develop naturally giving guidance and inner direction towards a wholesome growth.

Montessori classrooms are prepared environments giving the child the opportunity to respond to their natural tendency to work.  The child’s innate passion to learn is encouraged by giving them the opportunity to engage spontaneously on purposeful activities with the guidance of an adult.  Through this the child learns to concentrate, develops self-discipline and a love of learning.  In an ordered environment, the child advances at their own pace and according to their own developmental capabilities.

Children move from birth to adulthood through a series of developmental phases and the Montessori practices change to embrace the child’s changing characteristics and interests.

There are four phases of development.

Phase one is from birth to the age of six years old.  This phase is characterised as the “absorbent mind”.  The child absorbs all aspects of their environment, language and culture.

The second phase is from age six to twelve where the child begins to use the “reasoning mind” to explore the world with abstract and imagination.

The third phase of development is from twelve to eighteen years of age where the adolescent has the “humanistic mind”, eager to understand humanity and how they can contribute towards society.

The last phase is from eighteen to twenty four, where the adult explores the world with a “specialist mind” taking their place in the world.

Maria Montessori believed that if education followed the natural development of the child, then society would gradually move to a higher level of co-operation, peace and harmony.

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