Montessori is a scientific pedagogy applied to child education developed in the 1900s by Maria Montessori, the first Italian woman to become a physician. Dr. Montessori became interested in education while caring for mentally challenged children in a psychiatric clinic in Rome.
She made scientific observations about children's learning process by taking away all of the preconceived notions of what a school should like. It led her to discover a method that appeals to children's nature rather than fighting it. Based on her observations, later she designed a school that emphasizes experiential learning rather than oratory classroom learning.
Having existed for more than a century, the Montessori approach has been implemented in more than 140 countries, includes children of all ages, and has been transforming schools around the globe.
So, what Montessori in a nutshell?
Montessori is a child-centered method of education that involves child-led activities, which is referred to as "work". The Montessori approach highly respects the child. Children in Montessori environments learn at their own pace and able to choose their own subject-based activity.
Classrooms in a Montessori environment integrate children of varying ages and teachers who encourage independence among their pupils. The multiage grouping allows younger students to learn from the older ones. It also encourages them to constantly interact, socialize and solve problems together.
As opposed to traditional schools, students in Montessori environments are not restricted to seats. They are allowed to move around the center based on their subjects. They are also not limited by time to finish one subject.
Montessori environments support the learning of children from birth to adolescents. All of the materials in the Montessori environment were carefully designed based on the years of observations made by Dr. Montessori.
Montessori schools do not encourage grades. A child's progress is based on the observation of the teacher, which assesses the child's understanding of a subject depends on the child's level of maturity and knowledge of the subject. Student's overall personality development and happiness are also considered in the observations.
Character educations in Montessori are equally important as academic subjects. Character education is embedded in all areas of Montessori curriculum.