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The Montessori System of Education

There are numerous methods of education which were created by famous researchers and educationists that began in their true form and were slowly altered or evolved according to the geographical, historical, social, cultural and religious environment of a country. Some of the most popular in our region are the concepts of Friedrich Froebel’s Kindergarten System and Dr. Maria Montessori’s Montessori System. In this article, we will discuss the Montessori Method of imparting education on children.

Origin of the Montessori Method

The Montessori Method is a methodology and educational philosophy for nursery and elementary school education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori. After being the first woman to practice medicine in Italy in 1896 at the University of Rome’s psychiatric clinic, Dr. Maria developed an interest in the treatment of special children and worked in that area for several years. She was influenced by the works of two French-born pioneers in education for the mentally deficient, Jean Marc Gaspard Itard and Eduoard Seguin.

Working with special children made her realize that if they could make commendable progress why couldn’t a normal child excel much more? Therefore, she gave up working with mentally deficient children and devoted herself to improve and develop the learning needs of normal children.
Hence On January 6th 1907, Dr. Maria Montessori opened her first Casa dei Bambini (Children's House) in one of the poorest areas in Rome. As a result of Montessori's achievements at the Casa dei Bambini, her method of teaching spread rapidly. By 1915, over 100 Montessori schools had opened in America and many more had opened in the rest of the world.


Principles of the Montessori Method

  • A scientifically proven scale of sensitive periods of development in a child. Birth-3, 3-6, 6-9, and 9-12 years old.
  • To develop children’s observation skills by activities which include use of the five senses.
  • Child-sized furniture and environment in which the child can be competent and independent.
  • Learning through the scientifically proven Montessori materials which aid in auto-learning and control of error.

Philosophy of the Montessori Method

As a philosophy, the Montessori method emphasizes some key points which most parents in Pakistan overlook, when they get on the path of providing education to their child (whether Montessori or not) that:

  • Each child is a unique individual; parents should wake up to the fact that there is difference of personality even among children of same parents.
  • Children are distinctly different from adults in the way they develop and think.
  • A firm belief in children’s rights and the worth, value and importance of children. They have likes and dislikes and moods so one should not enforce ideas just because we are physically bigger and older.
  •  Children should be free to succeed and learn without restriction or criticism, one cannot grade or allot a position on a report card to the child in the class because all children are unique and all work hard, but at their own pace. Comparisons of the pace of learning cannot be generalized to norms and standards measured by traditional educational systems; some children will master some skills slower than others and some skills faster.

How can mothers benefit from this unique method of education?
As parents you will feel that after this training your approach towards handling babies and children in their early stages of learning will definitely take an about turn to most of our preconceived notions on traditional methods of teaching.

As a teacher you will feel that the aim of education is to provide a stimulating, child oriented environment in which children can explore, touch and learn without fear. In a Montessori classroom everything is oriented to the child: there is no teacher’s desk or teacher’s side of the room, because the teacher is an individual guide and facilitator, not the leader, dictator or director of the classroom.
Secondly, it will enhance the role of the woman as a mother who will be encouraged to “follow the child” and his interests and will be relaxed and free of pressure to fixate the child to traditional ways of teaching. Home schooling can be easily implemented by this method as it is self-contained, self-correcting, and expandable.

Respect, kindness and discipline are characteristics that most parents yearn for their children to learn when they send them to schools. They must realize that in these chaotic lifestyles and bursts of info-technology if they give their children more “freedom within limitations” to learn and explore according to nature’s path laid down by the Creator, the more wholesome will be their development.

Sources:       
          www.thecatalyst.org
          www.montessoridiscovery.org
          www.pakistanmontessori.org
          www.objectivistcentre.org

Writings of Dr. Maria Montessori
The Montessori Method
 Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook
The Discovery of the Child
The Secret of Childhood
The Absorbent Mind

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