Montessori education is based upon the scientific discoveries and observations made by Dr. Maria Montessori. Montessori conceived of education as a natural process which occurs spontaneously as the child interacts with her environment. Her approach supports the development of every child’s full potential. Montessori classrooms are richly prepared, highly ordered environments. Children are placed in three year age groupings and given freedom to move around the classroom and choose their work from among growth promoting activities (many of which were designed by Montessori herself). The teacher acts as a guide, introducing children to the materials according to their individual development. Montessori is the single largest educational philosophy in the world, with over 8,000 schools spanning six continents.
Hallmarks of a Montessori education are:
Numerous studies support the Montessori method, including a ten year double blind study published in Science Magazine in 2006 which found that Montessori educated children ranked higher academically and were more socially adept than their peers. To learn more about research which supports the Montessori method, see Angeline Lillard's The Science Behind the Genius. New York: Oxford University Press (2007).
Maria Montessori lived from 1870-1952. She was the first female Doctor of Medicine in Italy. Through her work with handicapped, developmentally delayed, and socially deprived children, she began to develop her unique educational philosophy. Montessori achieved tremendous international acclaim when her disadvantaged children were able to pass public school examinations with high marks.
In January 1907, she opened the first Casa dei Bambini (Children’s House) in Rome. As a result of further study, observation, and experimentation, she found her principles to be applicable to all children.
She had a tremendous impact on the field of education in general and on the way we understand and teach children today. Many of her insights into education and neural development are being confirmed by contemporary researchers.
Bloom! Montessori maintains a large lending library of Montessori-specific books and brochures, as well as general early childhood education references. All of the recommended reading materials listed below are available to parents in the school’s library.