What is Montessori?
Montessori is a philosophy and method of education which emphasizes the potential of the young child. It develops this potential by utililizing specially trained teachers and special teaching materials. The Montessori materials help the child to understand what he/she learns by associating an abstract concept with a concrete sensorial experience. The Montessori method stresses that children learn and progress at their own pace.
All of the ideas of Dr. Montessori were a result of her direct observation of children themselves. The special materials used in the Montessori schools were developed through trail and error, in her attempt to fill the needs of children as she saw and interpreted them. She also discovered that in the development of the child, there are what she called "sensitive periods."
At fairly predictable ages children pass through periods of sensitivity to such things as order, courtesy, touch, language, mathematics, and perfecting movement. By combining a knowledge of these periods and a judicious use of the materials, Montessori schools have introduced to very young children vast areas of knowledge usually believed unavailable to them.
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