29 Facts About Montessori


Montessori method of education is a system of education for children that seeks to develop natural interests and activities rather than use formal teaching methods.

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Method was developed in the early 20th century by Italian physician Maria Montessori, who developed her theories through scientific experimentation with her students; the method has since been used in many parts of the world, in public and private schools alike.

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In 1901, Maria Montessori met the prominent education reformers Alice and Leopoldo Franchetti.

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Maria Montessori was invited to hold her first course for teachers and to set up a "Casa dei Bambini" at Villa Montesca, the home of the Franchettis in Citta di Castello.

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Montessori lived with the Franchettis for two years and refined her methodology together with Alice Franchetti.

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Montessori education had spread to the United States by 1912 and became widely known in educational and popular publications.

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The 1914 critical booklet The Montessori System Examined by influential education teacher William Heard Kilpatrick limited the spread of Montessori's ideas, and they languished after 1914.

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Montessori education returned to the United States in 1960 and has since spread to thousands of schools there.

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Montessori education spread throughout the world, including Southeast Asia and India, where Maria Montessori was interned during World War II.

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Later, elite, private Montessori schools arose, and in the 1950s, some Montessori schools opened to serve children from lower-socioeconomic families, a trend that continues today with foundation and government-funded schools.

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Montessori education is based on a model of human development.

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Montessori education involves free activity within a "prepared environment", meaning an educational environment tailored to basic human characteristics, to the specific characteristics of children at different ages, and to the individual personalities of each child.

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Montessori educators give interdisciplinary lessons examining subjects ranging from biology and history to theology, which they refer to as "great lessons".

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Montessori used the term "cosmic education" to indicate both the universal scope of lessons to be presented and the idea that education should help children realize the human role in the interdependent functioning of the universe.

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Montessori classrooms have an age range so that the younger students can look up to the older students and the older students can help the younger students as needed.

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Montessori did not establish a teacher training program or a detailed plan of education for adolescents during her lifetime.

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Montessori perceived specific elements of human psychology which her son and collaborator Mario Montessori identified as "human tendencies" in 1957.

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Montessori observed four distinct periods, or "planes", in human development, extending from birth to 6 years, from 6 to 12, from 12 to 18, and from 18 to 24.

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Montessori saw different characteristics, learning modes, and developmental imperatives active in each of these planes and called for educational approaches specific to each period.

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Montessori introduced several concepts to explain this work, including the absorbent mind, sensitive periods, and normalization.

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Montessori described the young child's behavior of effortlessly assimilating the sensorial stimuli of his or her environment, including information from the senses, language, culture, and the development of concepts with the term "absorbent mind".

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Montessori believed that this is a power unique to the first plane, and that it fades as the child approached age six.

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Montessori observed and discovered periods of special sensitivity to particular stimuli during this time which she called the "sensitive periods".

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Finally, Montessori observed in children from three to six years old a psychological state she termed "normalization".

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Montessori characterized the third plane by the physical changes of puberty and adolescence, but psychological changes.

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Developmentally, Montessori believed that the work of the third plane child is the construction of the adult self in society.

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Montessori wrote comparatively little about this period and did not develop an educational program for the age.

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Montessori envisioned young adults prepared by their experiences in Montessori education at the lower levels ready to fully embrace the study of culture and the sciences in order to influence and lead civilization.

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Montessori believed that economic independence in the form of work for money was critical for this age, and felt that an arbitrary limit to the number of years in university-level study was unnecessary, as the study of culture could go on throughout a person's life.

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