Dr. Maria Montessori’s Approach

The Montessori approach aims to insure the normal development of the whole personality of the child, of his physical and emotional faculties as well as his intellectual powers. The tasks available to the child in a Montessori class are sequenced from the simple to the complex. He is free to select his own work and proceed at his own pace. Failures are only temporary and are soon overcome. By learning this way, the child gains the self-confidence which is necessary in the creation of competence.

The attractive and interesting assortment of scientifically designed materials available to the child enable him to learn by doing (”The hand is the instrument of the mind.”). The materials allow the child to gain a picture of reality in the concrete before he proceeds to the abstract. Their indirect aims are to aid in gross and fine motor development, hand-eye coordination and concentration.

The role of the teacher/director(ess) is to show the child the proper way to use the materials to do the work. The child then teaches himself through his own activity.  Rather than the children’s attention being focused on the director/ess, the director/ess directs their attention to the individual child. The director/ess’  role is to also maintain discipline. The aim is not to impose their will on the child but rather to help create a climate of order in which the child can work without interference at meaningful, interesting tasks. As a result, the child achieves self-discipline. He does so because his activities and his education are directed by his own interests, rather than by pressure from his superiors or by traditional rewards and punishments. The child’s motivations become the adventure of discovery and the joy of accomplishments.

Although the Montessori approach does not provide all the answers to the problems of education that confront us, it does chart a new and superior course in solving them. Furthermore, it is open to the findings of recent research and the introduction of new educational materials.