Section 1, Part 1, Lesson 1
August 8, 2012
Lesson 1: Historical Overview of Montessori Method
Write a chronological overview (time line) of Maria Montessori’s life and work. Indicate the life events you feel were most significant in her development of the Montessori Method of education.
Describe how Montessori developed her approach. Include the factors occurring at that time in the world that contributed to the method’s popular acceptance.
Education being a necessary part of our lives, there has been several ways to teach a child and thus creating a teacher dominant learning. But, it was about a century ago when a revolutionary thought “teacher within” came to existence. It was the one woman who changed the world with her new innovative method of teaching and would break the stereotype in teaching method. This was Maria Montessori who developed Montessori Method of teaching with a firm belief in the motto "Within the child lies the fate of future". Montessori Method focuses on the idea that children learn best when they are placed in an environment full of learning activities and given the freedom to work on their own. Montessori model believed that children at liberty to choose and act freely within an environment prepared accordingly would act spontaneously for optimal development. Montessori education is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological development, as well as technological advancements in society. Although a range of practices exists under the name "Montessori", the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and the American Montessori Society (AMS) cite these elements as essential [1, 2]: Mixed age classrooms, with classrooms for children aged 3 to 6 years old by far the most common, student choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options, a "constructivism" or "discovery" model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction and specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators. To understand Montessori Method it would be necessary to know how it came to existence and what the underlying principles behind this method are.
Maria Tecla Artemesia Montessori was born on August 31, 1870, in Chiaravalle, Italy. Her father, Alessandro Montessori, 33 years old at the time, was an official of the Ministry of Finance working in the local state-run tobacco factory. Her mother, Renilde Stoppani, 25 years old, was well educated for the times and was probably related to Italian geologist and paleontologist Antonio Stoppani. Her father did not believe that women should receive higher education. However, her mother, fully supported Maria in all her endeavors. Montessori's was educated as a doctor, but went on to start her own preschool. She believed children should not be treated as receptors of knowledge from the teacher, but instead should be leaders of their own learning. Her philosophy has been embraced in schools around the world . Maria Montessori was always a little ahead of her time. At age thirteen, against the wishes of her father but with the support of her mother, she began to attend a boys' technical school. At that time schools had very few teaching supplies, like books and writing supplies. Children had to learn everything by memorization. Girls were taught skills like sewing or knitting, while only boys were encouraged to study math, science, and other technical subjects. Maria fought for her right to study math and science. She was supported whole-heartedly by her mother to continue studying these subjects, and her father grudgingly permitted her to do so. Maria originally intended to become an engineer, but her interests soon shifted to the field of medicine. Her desire to become a doctor was unprecedented for a woman in Italy at the time. Maria was allowed to attend medical school only after the intervention...
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