Dr. Maria Montessori

Dr Maria Montessori (1850 – 1952) was the first woman to qualify as a medical doctor in the unified Italy. As a result of her work in the medical field. She became concerned about the young child and began her life-long study behaviours, needs and interests.

Her scientific study led to the development of a child-centred approach to education. Her philosophy of education is based on the development stages of the child. Maria Montessori designed a prepared environment and educational apparatus to meet the progressive needs of the developing child.

The Montessori approach to education is based upon the child’s natural inner growth and spontaneous learning. Its goal is to foster the child’s development in order that he/she is able to reach his/her full potential. To assist this purpose, children work in specifically prepared environments which enable them to develop essential skills (for example, critical thinking, concentration, independence and cooperation) while absorbing key academic concepts. Children take part in the joy of learning.
 In this system, education becomes a preparation for life.

Dr Maria Montessori believed that:

  • Children function best under the conditions of trust, free choice, support and encouragement
  • Learning should be an active process
  • Children develop at different rates and have different strengths and weaknesses
  • Children should learn as cooperative members of a group
  • Children learn best when they are interested in the subject
  • Children gain decision-making skills through the process of making choices
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