Who was Maria Montessori?
Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was the first female physician in Italy. She opened the first “Children’s House” (Casa dei Bambini) in 1907 in a tenement building in Rome.
Recognizing that children possess a natural desire to learn, she developed a curriculum to enable them to explore their curiosity independently in an environment oriented to children—an idea that was revolutionary at the time.
Montessori wrote many books on her educational philosophy, and traveled extensively, living and working in the Netherlands and in India. She also became an advocate for peace education. Today there are over 20,000 Montessori schools worldwide, including 4,500 in the United States, many of them public schools.
How does the Montessori method work?
In a Montessori classroom children learn at their own pace, using attractive materials that engage all of the senses. The multi-age classrooms encourage social interaction, and children learn respect for themselves, others, and their environment.
Each Montessori classroom is a prepared environment, oriented to the child’s world and carefully designed by the Montessori-trained teacher, who guides the child’s activity and offers encouragement to persist in given tasks.
Maria Montessori recognized that children long for independence. Even the youngest child of three is shown how to prepare his or her own snack, put on outdoor clothes, clean up spills, and care for classroom pets and plants.
Materials are carefully organized and beautifully displayed on open shelves to allow the child to follow his or her interest. This offers the child freedom within limits to pursue their curiosity and explore the world around them.
Children are grouped in multi-age classrooms, where younger children learn from their older peers, and eventually become role models themselves. This also creates a stable classroom community where the teacher and children learn to know each other well. The maximum benefit from a Montessori education is gained when children complete the entire three years of a cycle.
Consistent with Montessori principles, children at the Kennebec Montessori School:
- Develop concentration and coordination through purposeful activities such as pouring and spooning, buttoning and zipping, polishing and washing
- Learn to read at their own pace using a phonetic system
- Use concrete math materials that help them grasp advanced concepts earlier than other educational approaches
- Practice “grace and courtesy” skills
- Develop a global perspective on the world through continent studies
- Explore the wonders of nature in our outdoor classroom
All of our activities encourage a spirit of independence and accomplishment that helps develop a child’s natural curiosity and nurtures a love of learning that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.