In our preschool, students aged three and a half to five and a half years old begin their formal education with the Montessori method. Dr. Maria Montessori believed that children learn best by doing, not by passively accepting other adults’ ideas and pre-existing knowledge, a philosophy of education and training that concurs with ours. Believing that the young child has more potential than educators realized, she began to develop this potential by teaching the young child through his or her natural interest in exploring the world. This is an approach designed to individually accommodate each child’s unique abilities. She devoted her life to the education of children. Her teaching techniques and self-designed materials are currently used in public and private classrooms around the world, and they are so successful that they are commonly known as “Montessori doctrine”.
The Montessori method recognizes “sensitive periods” in a child – especially between three to six year old – when he or she can absorb information from an environment with hands-on materials. There is a “sensitive period” for all the things a child must learn to become a responsible and entrepreneurial student, competent in all areas of life. The Montessori classroom encourages this natural appetite of the child by offering age-appropriate materials to satisfy his or her intense desire for knowledge. A child who learns in this natural way with a sense of order, concentration and coordination, the basic skills of reading and mathematics, and an interest for science and geography, has the advantage of beginning his or her education without pressure, boredom or discouragement. By pursuing his or her individual interests in a Montessori classroom at an early age, the student gains an early enthusiasm for learning, which is the key to becoming a trustworthy adult.
The Montessori environment promotes self-esteem, encourages fundamental motivation, spontaneous activity, and self-education. A Montessori education teaches a child respect for oneself, others, and the environment. The Montessori method allows each child the ability to obtain a good self-image enabling him/her to feel secure, independent and self-confident. The fundamental aim of a Montessori education is to guide the child to grow in knowledge and strength as a whole person and gain the practical skills and insight to determine their success in his or her future life.