How did it begin?
Dr. Maria Montessori was the creator of what is called the Montessori Method of Education. She based her program on observation that young children learn best in a home-like settings filled with developmentally appropriate material that provide experiences contributing to the growth of self-motivated independent learners. Montessori’s dynamic theories include such revolutionary premises as:
- Children are to be respected as different from adults and as individual who are different from one another
- Children create themselves through purposeful activity
- The most important years for learning are from birth to age 6
- Children posses unusual sensitivity and mental powers for absorbing information and learning from their environment
What do older children learn from being in a class with younger children?
In order to master any new concept, there are four levels of learning that take place. First, the child is introduced to a new concept. The child then practices with the materials alone as he learns to do it by himself. After that, the child is tested by “showing” the teacher that he or she is competent. Last the true test of mastery is that the child applies his or her knowledge by helping another child who is on a lower level. Allowing children to apply knowledge adds immeasurably to their self-esteem. Only the Montessori prepared environment is structured to promote all four levels of learning necessary for true mastery of a concept.