what is montessori?
Montessori education began in 1907, when Dr. Maria Montessori opened the Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House, in a low-income district of Rome. She published a book describing the approach in 1909. The school’s unique philosophy inspired educators the world over, and in 1929 Dr. Montessori established the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).
Originally Montessori caught on quickly in the United States, however by the 1920s the movement had slowed substantially. In 1960 Dr. Nancy McCormick Rambusch launched the American Montessori Society, the first—and still largest—of several modern-era organizations supporting Montessori in America. 1
Introduction to the Montessori Method
Quoting the American Montessori Society website, “The Montessori Method of education is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood.
It is a view of the child as one who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment.
It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive.”
Hallmarks of Montessori include:
Multiage groupings to encourage peer learning; where younger children learn from older children, and the older children can reinforce their learning by teaching concepts they have already mastered.
Uninterrupted blocks of work time, and guided choice of work activity allow students to “learn to think critically, work collaboratively, and act boldly.” 2
In addition, the classroom is a vital learning component, and is prepared by the teacher to not only create a pleasing environment, but to encourage independence, freedom within limits, and a sense of order.
Essential Elements to Quality Montessori Education
Mixed-age classes, in which older children serve as role models and helpers
A full array of developmentally appropriate Montessori learning materials
Teachers with Credentials from a Montessori teacher education program
Adherence to the Montessori instructional approach, with teachers serving as guides rather than givers of information 3
Montessori School of Waukesha
It is important to know that the Montessori name is not trademarked. Any school can call itself Montessori, and programs vary in how they can be interpreted and practiced within the Montessori approach. Schools meeting the AMS School Accreditation Standards and Criteria are accredited by AMS.
The Montessori School of Waukesha is an Accredited Member School. Founded in 1964, Montessori School of Waukesha (MSOW) is the oldest and largest Montessori school in Waukesha County. Learn more by visiting MSOW’s website!