Born in 1870, Dr. Maria Montessori was an Italian physician, the first woman to earn a degree in medicine at the University of Rome, who developed a form of child-centred pedagogy that revolutionized education.
Over a 40-year period, during which she observed children directly and worked with them personally, Dr. Montessori developed a philosophy of education that emphasized respecting each learner and developing their unique competencies and fullest humanity. Her methods, honoured and respected throughout the world, garnered her Nobel Peace Prize nominations in 1949, 1950 and 1951.
The first Montessori classroom, the “Casa Dei Bambini”, opened in January 1907 in San Lorenzo, Rome.
The Montessori Method is based on the belief that:
1. Respect – Children are to be respected as individuals who differ from adults and each other.
2. Self-Discipline – Children have the ability and desire to exercise control over their behaviour.
3. Sensitive Periods – The first six years of life are the most important periods of growth.
4. Competence and Team work – Children work not for profit and completion of goals like adults, but for the sake of activity in the development of mental, physical and psychological abilities.
5. Empathy – Children are taught to look others in the eye and see others as human beings.
The aim of the Montessori method is to develop the whole child. Intellectual, physical and social growth are valued equally. The teacher encourages, guides and constantly assesses the children, nourishing their growth into happy, balanced, competent, responsible, adaptive life-long learners. During the last 100+ years, Montessori schools have opened worldwide. Alexander Graham Bell founded the Montessori Education Association in 1913.
He also provided Dr. Montessori with financial support and helped to open the first Montessori school in Canada, and one of the first in the US. Thomas Edison also helped to found a Montessori School. Jean Piaget, the renowned Swiss psychologist, made his first observations of children in Montessori schools and was head of the Swiss Montessori Society for many years. Erik Erikson, noted anthropologist and author, was a certified Montessori teacher. Lastly, our beloved neighbour from childhood, Mr. Rogers, was a huge supporter of Montessori.
Who attended Montessori schools? Well-known Montessori graduates include the following:
- Jeff Bezos: financial analyst, founder of Amazon.com
- Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: former editor, former first lady
- Sergey Brin & Larry Page: co-founders of Google.com (who credit their Montessori education for much of their success)
- Julia Child: famous chef, star of many TV cooking shows and author of numerous cookbooks
- Sean “P. Diddy” Combs: rap star, music mogul
- Prince William and Prince Harry: English royal family
- Anne Frank: famous diarist from World War II
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Nobel Prize winner for Literature
- Friedensreich Hundertwasser: Austrian painter and architect
- Jimmy Wales: founder of Wikipedia
- Helen Hunt: Academy Award-winning actress
- George Clooney: Academy Award-winning actor
- Taylor Swift: singer/songwriter, actress
If you wish to learn more about the Montessori Method please visit:
The Montessori Foundation – www.montessori.org
Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education – www.macte.org
North American Montessori Teachers’ Association – www.montessori-namta.org
Association Montessori Internationale – www.montessori-ami.org
Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators – www.ccma.ca
Toronto Montessori Institute – www.tmi.edu
And of course, if you have any questions please contact us at 647 430 5321 or at email@example.com