This year, 2007, marks the one-hundredth birthday for the style of teaching created by Maria Montessori.
When Maria first developed her ideas on how children should learn, she did not aspire to be an educator. She was a doctor. Maria Montessori first worked with children in an insane asylum. Later she worked with underprivileged children at a daycare. From her observations she created the Montessori methods of teaching.
The Montessori method of teaching is based on the thought that children learn best if they are allowed to work at their own pace with room to move about and explore. There are no tests given in a Montessori school. Children are observed.
During Montessori instruction, children learn more than academics. They learn how to socialize with other children and adults. They learn how to respect each other and use their manners. Maria believed that children should learn life skills that could help them in their future.
A Montessori classroom should be peaceful. Respect should be exchanged between the teacher and the students.
Along with many other cities, Huntsville, Alabama is home to the Montessori style of teaching. At the Montessori School of Huntsville, children are engaged in hands-on learning by using manipulatives. Each day the children are given a list of tasks to complete. The children may work on the tasks at their own pace. The teacher quietly walks around and assists the students as they work. The children gain more responsibility for their education by choosing how and when they work on each task.
As with most children, at times the students need to be pointed into the right direction.
I think that the Montessori style of teaching that was created 100 years ago by Maria Montessori is a very special style. I can see how many of the children in my classroom would benefit from it greatly. However, I also see children that would struggle with the independence and lack of structure.