English (United Kingdom)Русский (Russian Federation)

Embodying the ideas of Maria Montessori in life, FIMA supports and protects the Montessori Community, enhancing the growth and potential of the system in Russia!

MARIA MONTESSORI

Born in Chiaravalle in the Province of Ancona in 1870, Maria Montessori was the first woman to practise medicine in Italy, having graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Rome in 1896. As a physician, Dr. Montessori was in touch with young children and became profoundly interested in their development. Through careful and exhaustive scrutiny, she realised that children construct their own personalities as they interact with their environment. She also observed the manner in which they learned as they spontaneously chose and worked with the auto didactic materials she provided.

Her approach to education stemmed from a solid grounding in biology, psychiatry and anthropology . She studied children of all races and cultures in many countries around the world, soon seeing the universality of the laws of human development played out before her. She continued her observations throughout her life, widening and deepening her understanding until her death in 1952.

Maria Montessori opened her first Casa dei Bambini (Children's House) in one of the very poorest areas in Rome, the then notorious Quartiere di San Lorenzo.

"It was January 6th (1907), when the first school was opened for small, normal children of between three and six years of age. I cannot say on my methods, for these did not yet exist. But in the school that was opened my method was shortly to come into being. On that day there was nothing to be seen but about fifty wretchedly poor children, rough and shy in manner, many of them crying, almost all the children of illiterate parents, who had been entrusted to my care"... "They were tearful, frightened children, so shy that it was impossible to get them to speak; their faces were expressionless, with bewildered eyes as though they had never seen anything in their lives."... "It would be interesting to know the original circumstances that enabled these children to undergo such an extraordinary transformation, or rather, that brought about the appearance of new children, whose souls revealed themselves with such radiance as to spread a light through the whole world."

Indeed it was as though this radiance had been caught in a stream of consciousness, for a mere six months after the opening of the Casa dei Bambini, people from all walks of life, from every continent came to see Maria Montessori's miracle children.

In 1909 she gave her first Montessori course, expecting to have as students only Italian teachers. To her amazement people attended from many different countries. Probably that was the origin of what would become a serious handicap in the evolution of Montessori pedagogy.

"Since the beginning Montessori pedagogy has been appropriated, interpreted, misinterpreted, exploited, propagated, torn to shreds and the shreds magnified into systems, reconstituted, used, abused and disabused, gone into oblivion and undergone multiple renaissances." (Renilde Montessori)

There are various reasons why this should be so. Perhaps the most important is that although Montessori pedagogy is known as the Montessori Method, it is not a method of education, in other words, it is not a programme for teachers to apply. Maria Montessori was not a teacher .... the Alpha and Omega of her pedagogy lies with the children.

Maria Montessori was a scientist, and as a good scientist, she was earth-bound and highly spiritual in her pursuit of truth. She studied medicine, specialising in psychiatry and anthropology. She was also an outstanding mathematician. Although she would never have considered being a teacher, she studied educational methods for many years and found them wanting, possibly because none of them took into account the two seemingly paradoxical extremes which are at the centre of her pedagogy: the universal characteristics of the human child, and the child as a unique, unrepeatable, respectable and admirable individual to be unconditionally accepted as one of life's most marvellous expressions.

 




Montessori Approach

"I have studied the child. I have taken what the child has given me and expressed it and that is what is called the Montessori method."

The Montessori approach offers a broad vision of education as an aid to life. It is designed to help children with their task of inner construction as they grow from childhood to maturity. It succeeds because it draws its principles from the natural development of the child. Its flexibility provides a matrix within which each individual child's inner directives freely guide the child toward wholesome growth.

Montessori classrooms provide a prepared environment where children are free to respond to their natural tendency to work. The children's innate passion for learning is encouraged by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities with the guidance of a trained adult. Through their work, the children develop concentration and joyful self-discipline. Within a framework of order, the children progress at their own pace and rhythm, according to their individual capabilities.

The transformation of children from birth to adulthood occurs through a series of developmental planes. Montessori practice changes in scope and manner to embrace the child's changing characteristics and interests.

  • The first plane of development occurs from birth to age six. At this stage, children are sensorial explorers, constructing their intellects by absorbing every aspect of their environment, their language and their culture.
  • From age 6 to 12, children become conceptual explorers. They develop their powers of abstraction and imagination, and apply their knowledge to discover and expand their worlds further.
  • The years between 12 and 18 see the children become humanistic explorers, seeking to understand their place in society and their opportunity to contribute to it.
  • From 18 to 24, as young adults, they become specialised explorers, seeking a niche from which to contribute to universal dialogue.

Prepared Environment

Montessori classrooms provide a prepared environment where children are free to respond to their natural tendency to work.

The prepared environment offers the essential elements for optimal development. The key components comprise the children, teacher and physical surroundings including the specifically designed Montessori educational material.

Characteristics of the prepared environment include:

  • Beauty, order, reality, simplicity and accessibility.
  • Children must be given freedom to work and move around within suitable guidelines that enable them to act as part of a social group.
  • Children should be provided with specifically designed materials which help them to explore their world and enable them to develop essential cognitive skills.
  • Mixed age groups (eg. three to six, six to nine, nine to twelve) encourage all children to develop their personalities socially and intellectually at their own pace.

"Beyond the more obvious reasons why it is sensible to group the ages three by three, such as the little ones learn from the older children and the older ones learn by teaching the younger, every child can work at his own pace and rhythm, eliminating the bane of competition, there is the matter of order and discipline easily maintained even in very large classes with only one adult in charge. This is due to the sophisticated balance between liberty and discipline prevalent in Montessori classrooms, established at the very inception of a class. Children who have acquired the fine art of working freely in a structured environment, joyfully assume responsibility for upholding this structure, contributing to the cohesion of their social unit."

There are prepared environments for children at each successive developmental plane. These environments allow children to take responsibility for their own education, giving them the opportunity to become human beings able to function independently and hence interdependently.




Montessori Teacher

The role of a Montessori teacher is that of an observer whose ultimate goal is to intervene less and less as the child develops. The teacher creates an atmosphere of calm, order and joy in the classroom and is there to help and encourage the children in all their efforts, allowing them to develop self-confidence and inner discipline. With the younger students at each level, the teacher is more active, demonstrating the use of materials and presenting activities based on an assessment of the child's requirements. Knowing how to observe constructively and when, and how much, to intervene, is one of the most important talents the Montessori teacher acquires during a rigorous course of training at AMI training centres throughout the world.

 


 

M. Montessori Museum

 

Закрыть
Ваше имя
Контактный телефон
Введите код с картинки