In this article I would like to write about a very interesting woman, Maria Montessori, who created a method of education that can be applied from early childhood all the way up to adulthood. Before I describe this kind of education, it’s necessary to write basic life’s facts about this sophisticated woman.
Maria Montessori was born in 1870 in a city called Chiaravalle, Italy. Her family moved to Rome in the year 1870. Young Maria was a clever, hardworking and courageous girl and her aspirations were to become an engineer. After graduating from secondary school, she changed her mind and in 1890 she started to study medicine at the University of Rome. Actually she was the first woman in the medical school; thereby she had broken conventional barriers about education of women. Even though she had many problems during her study, she graduated in 1896 as a doctor of medicine.
Dr. Montessori became known for her participation during the Women’s Rights movement too, which was very useful for a better position of women in society. She was very respectful of and helpful to her patients from different castes. Later she started work as a volunteer in a psychiatric clinic of the University of Rome and it was very important for the creation of her new education system. She interacted with developmentally disabled children observing and studying their needs. Maria started advocating their life, development and education. In this time she was creating new methods of education with special materials. In fact she was convinced that this method was important for the development of every child, not only for children with special needs.
In 1907 Maria Montessori founded Casa dei Bambini in Rome for children who weren’t looked after during the day. She continued her very hard work by publishing many books and educating students about her methods and doing research as well. The new Montessori method became famous not only in Europe but also in American schools and later on in Asia.
What is so special about Maria Montessori’s method?
In my opinion there are three following new attitudes:
Firstly, it presents a completely new view on children. Children are confident, independent and responsible for their behaviour and choices. They can make decisions about their activities, partners and tools as well. Secondly, a teacher’s role is radically changed with a teacher becoming a partner and a guide in children’s education. Finally, the learning environment has a different form and function than before as it is modified to children’s needs. This last point includes interesting educational material which evolves and encourages children’s natural development.
In conclusion, even though the method is complex and comprehensive, I would like to recommend it because it is very useful and natural for children‘s development. Unfortunately, I know some mothers who only use the method partially, selecting some steps which makes it ineffective.
If you need more information, have a look at these websites.
Alena Bercikova, Advanced Class