The Montessori Philosophy
“One can pass quite close to the child and yet not see him.” Maria Montessori
Dr. Maria Montessori, medical doctor and educator, made the child not only visible but central in her development of a method which evokes and strengthens the child’s highest potential. Every child moves through successive phases of physical and mental development, identified by Dr. Montessori as “sensitive periods.” The child cannot be pushed from one level to the next by means of an arbitrary timetable. Learning that is tedious, labored, even impossible at a later stage, is pursued naturally and joyously during sensitive periods of an earlier stage. The child’s interest is spontaneous. The learning is deep and lasting.
The child perfects himself/herself by repeated successful interactions with the Prepared Environment, with other children, and with the teacher. Free to fulfill his/her deepest learning and work needs, the child acquires and strengthens new functions … and grows ever more self-directed and self-disciplined. There is an inner peace, a sense of order and harmony in the child who is allowed to construct his/her own individuality by means of independent work and cooperation, not competition, with other children.
A good Montessori school will follow the child’s natural principles of development, propelled forward by the child’s constant state of growth and transformation. The younger child is in a particularly sensitive period for the development and refinement of the senses. Upon this strong sensorial base, the older child builds an aptitude for the abstract and a disciplined yet open-minded imagination.
Maria Montessori Elementary offers a program of “Cosmic Education” for the older child which stimulates and challenges his/her imagination in an intellectual atmosphere. The vision of Cosmic Education is the interrelatedness and unity of the universe, the intimate relationship between all aspects of Nature. The intellectual, moral, social and emotional content of the elementary program assists the child in finding his/her own unity with and relationship to the whole.
The full potential of each child as an individual is warmly encouraged and fully expected.