Artwork by Taesha
Maria Montessori was a philosopher and educator. She was also Italy's first female physician. In her research Dr. Montessori noted specific characteristics associated with a child's interests and abilities at each level of development. She believed a school carefully designed to meet the needs and interests of the child would be effective if it were consistent with the basic principles of psychology. Rather than fight the laws of nature, Montessori suggested that we "follow the child," allowing him to show us how best to foster the development of his human potential.
The Montessori classroom is commonly referred to as a "prepared environment." This term reflects the importance of creating a learning environment which reinforces the child's natural curiosity, independence, and intellectual development. An important element in this prepared environment is the use of special Montessori materials. Based on her studies of children's learning, Dr. Montessori noted that most children do not learn from memorizing what they hear from their teachers or read in a book, but from concrete experience and direct interaction with their environment. Montessori materials are designed to facilitate concrete learning in every area of the curriculum.
Characteristics of Montessori materials.
"1. The principal quality of my material is to attract the attention of the child and to provoke a permanent reaction within the child.
2. (The next quality) of my material is that it is systematic. All the objects are connected in a series and together form a material of development.
3. (The third quality) of my material is that it contains (what I call) the control of error. As the child uses the material, the material shows the child his mistakes and, in this free path the child can correct these errors."
" This also liberates him from unfavorable and discouraging criticism of others and develops in him the sense of (self-) criticism."
~ The California Lectures of Maria Montessori