Dr. Maria Montessori was one of the first female physicians in Italy. She later became an educator by using the scientific method to observe how children naturally absorb information and learn at different stages of their development. It was through these observations that she came to develop what is now known as Montessori.
Dr. Montessori first began working with mentally disabled children in 1897. After further study and experimentation, she saw that her principles of education worked with all children. The Montessori movement, as it later became referred to, began with the opening of the first Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House, in Italy on January 6,1907.
A Montessori education involves having scientifically made materials in a prepared classroom environment that is specifically designed to satisfy the developmental needs of the child. Because the materials are designed for them, children are able to explore and learn independently, as well as in groups.
The lessons start out in a very concrete manner that develops the child’s senses during what Maria Montessori called the ‘sensitive periods’. “Gradually, those lessons evolve into more abstract concepts, and those concepts get reintroduced in more broader and deeper forms as the child moves from a primary into an elementary program.
In a fully implemented Montessori program, children learn within their appropriate mixed-age groups: 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, adolescent (middle school), and high school. The teachers are called guides because they guide the children towards their own academic growth and independence.
Since the name “Montessori” lacks trademark status, any school or daycare can claim to offer a fully implemented Montessori education. However, only those schools accredited by a Montessori accrediting body such the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI)—as Baden Montessori School will be—adhere to the principles and educational approach developed by Dr. Maria Montessori.
AMI maintains standards of teacher training, offers conferences, approves the production of Montessori materials and through AMI-USA, which is based in the United States, approves accreditation of schools.
For accreditation by AMI-USA, Baden provides the classroom with these things:
Accreditation also stems from a regular consultation at each level by a trained consultant every three years to ensure standards and to offer suggestions on refining the program. These are the attributes that make up a fully implemented Montessori program and ones that parents should ask about when they visit a Montessori school. In addition to AMI, other accrediting bodies include the American Montessori Society (AMS) and the International Montessori Council.
The Absorbent Mind – Montessori, Maria
The Secret of Childhood – Montessori, Maria
Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work – Standing, E.M.
Montessori from the Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three – Jessen, Lynn and Paula Polk Lillard
Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius – Lillard, Angeline Stoll
Understanding the Human Being: The Importance of the First Three Years of Life – Montanaro, Silvana
Montessori Madness: A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education – Eissler, Trevor