Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was a revolutionary educator, way ahead of her time.
She recognized that children are guided by an internal drive to learn, so she became the first expert on self-directed learning.
She developed classroom environments where children can study independently, using self-correcting, hands-on learning materials. She provided teachers with specific guidelines for observing and assisting their young students.
Over a hundred years after Maria Montessori opened her first school, the "Casa
dei Bambini" (House of Children) in 1907 in Italy, her approach is still practiced
worldwide. Her ideas continue to inspire many educators. In fact, New Learning
Culture started with the question, "What would Maria Montessori do today?"
Montessori's original writings are without doubt still revolutionary. She was
not shy to point fingers. She clearly said that teachers and parents must open
their eyes and LOOK AT THE CHILD, instead of inventing educational methods not
directly based on the individual child. Her starting point was "What does this
child need to be learning joyfully?".
New Learning Culture is following in Montessori's footsteps: "What does the
child of the 21st century need to be learning joyfully?"
Many of our children's basic needs have remained the same for hundred years.
That's why the classic Montessori classroom is still the most child-friendly
of all learning environments. However, some of our children's needs have changed
and also Montessori classrooms need updates.
Montessori didn't find 'pretend play' necessary for the children of her time.
She thought it was important for the child to learn to distinguish between reality
and phantasy. However, children today NEED PRETEND PLAY - most of all, as a
form of tension release for TV watching as well as for processing real life
can offer prepared environments for imaginary play
that is simultaneously educational. For example a pretend play store with
countables and uncountables, objects to weigh and measure, and play money. During
play children can learn how to weigh, meisure, count, add, subtract, divide,
multiply with whole numbers and decimals.
Children love to express themselves through ART. Schools and homes can offer
simple art studios inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, that allow independent
access to paints, paper, clay etc.
You can learn more in my workshops,
or order my handbook the "Sacred Child Companion." Also, check my blog for updates.
Maria Montessori's writings:
• Montessori online library
Secret of Childhood by Maria Montessori, summarized by
Montessori-expert Michael Olaf
Montessori Method" by
Dr. Maria Montessori (Online Book)