Who was Montessori ?Dr Maria Montessori was a legend in her own life4me – born in 1870 She was a tenacious, emancipatedwoman who changed the way society treated children. She became Italy’s ﬁrst ever female doctor.She was a central ﬁgure in the spirit of reform, humanism and children’s rights that swept Europe in the 1900’s .
Dr Montessori opened her ﬁrst ‘Casa dei Bambini’ (house for children) in 1907 in Italy and it is s4ll in opera4on today. Montessori’s approach to educa4on was deeply rooted in her observa4on of children’s needs and sensi4vi4es at diﬀerent ages. Through these observa4ons, she came to believe that every child has an inborn desire and ability to discover, explore and learn.The full development of the human being from birth to adulthood became her life’s work.
Respect for the child is the cornerstone of the Montessori philosophy.
In a Montessori 3‐6 class there are ﬁve main areas the children can explore: Prac4cal life, Sensorial, Maths, Language, Culture.
Prac7cal Life – it is here the children can prac4ce things that will aid them for life , giving them opportuni4es to develop and reﬁne certain skills for example – a series of dressing frames where they can manipulate buYons, laces, buckles and poppers & bows – which will later help them to dress themselves. They also learn how to open and close doors carefully, how to walk gracefully, how to blow their nose and wash their hands, all things many adults just expect children to know!
Threading, cu]ng, polishing and pouring, sewing, ﬂower arranging, orange squeezing – each assist hand eye‐coordina4on and in turn help the child acquire the skills of those mastered by the adults around him. The large gross motor skills are also catered for through such ac4vi4es as dish washing, scrubbing a table, cleaning the art easel, cleaning the windows, washing the clothes and pegging them out!
In the Montessori environment the sensorial materials call the children to explore the quali4es of: dimension, colour, weight, taste, smell and shape, helping them to beYer understand the world they live in.
Maths ‐ coun7ng and numbers.Numbers and coun4ng come alive for the child when they are taught as a sequence of carefully planned steps, taking the child from the concrete to the abstract.Numbers in a Montessori classare approached from a sensorial view point using concrete materials. 0‐10 is the ﬁrst area children explore.
The decimal system is then introduced using beads, the one thousand bead cube is ‘big’, but the ‘one’ bead is very small.Ten ones can be counted andexchanged for oneten, and ten tens forone hundred, tenhundreds for onethousand and sochildren have a concrete understanding, of the change fromone category toanother.
Childern then explore teens, where ten and one make eleven, ten and two twelve……. This is shown clearly with beads and the wriYen number. The tens are introduced in this way too…. Two tens are twenty, three tens are thirty……
LanguageThe Montessori language materials oﬀer a systema4c approach to wri4ng and reading – this enables the child to experience the structure of language step by step.The alphabet is taught phone4cally at ﬁrst, with the common blends introduced e.g. th, sh, ou..and later non phone4c words are introduced.
The shape and forma4on of each leYer is presented in a sensorial way allowing the child to gain a muscular memory of the leYer before introducing the complexityof using awri4ng implement .
Stories, songs, poems and a wealth of language materials enrich the child’s vocabulary
Making words with the moveable alphabet enables the child to “write” their thoughts, before the skill of physical wri4ng isperfected.
“Educa-on is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment” Maria Montessori
Understanding our own culture, and the world we live in is an important part of the Montessori philosophy.
We learn from globes and maps about the diﬀerent con4nents, and who lives there.
Geography, history, zoology, botany and science are all fascina4ng to children.
Why Montessori today – 100 years later? Dr Montessori was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace prize. She discovered facts regarding brain development that are ﬁnally being proven today!And a testament to her philosophy being more deeply rooted than just a passing trend ‐ today Montessori is the single largest method of educa4on in the world today with over 22,000 schools in more than 100 countries with just 100 Montessori schools in New Zealand.Dr Montessori’s philosophy of educa4on is ﬂourishing today though there are insuﬃcient teachers to meet demand – could this be a career for you?
Montessori – A Career For You! The next AMI 3‐6 teacher training course in Auckland will be January 2012 – February 2013. This is your passport to travel the world with an interna4onally recognised Montessori Diploma. Visit the website www.mmef.org.nz, email firstname.lastname@example.org or text 021 111 4133 for more informa4on. Apply today!