Montessori education is a holistic approach to raising children developed by Dr. Maria Montessori through decades of observing children around the world. She created prepared environments for each age group based on common tendencies and developmental progressions. She created not only materials to convey academic concepts but also a prescription for what we call the “human environment.” Instead of a traditional teacher-student relationship, Montessori guides are meant to “link” the children to their environment via individual lessons given to children at their own pace. The child then pursues the learning process pro-actively, exploring topics and materials independently after their introduction by the guide.
Montessori believed that the best way for a child to fulfill his or her potential was through age-appropriate independence. Independence builds confidence in the child as he learns through his own successes and failures. But a Montessori environment is not a free-for-all. Just as the real world has limitations, so too are there limitations for the child in the Montessori environment. As children get older and learn how to make appropriate choices, they are given more and more freedoms.
Above all, the Montessori philosophy is meant to be an “aid to life,” a methodology to help each child fulfill their unique potential, discovering and developing their personal contributions to the world. Maria Montessori believed that this sense of purpose and self-actualization would lead to inner peace, and by extension a more peaceful world for our children.