Montessori education is named in honor of Dr. Maria Montessori, the first women in Italy to become a physician. She laid the groundwork and established a more enlightened way of teaching children. Montessori education method is based on her scientific observation of a child’s learning process. Guided by her discovery that children teach themselves, she designed a “structured environment” in which children could choose freely from a number of developmentally appropriate activities. Now almost a century after her first Casa dei bambini (“Children’s house”) in Rome, Montessori education has spread all over the World including the USA.

Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading, children in Montessori classes learn at their own individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation and the love for learning. Montessori classes place children in multi age groups, forming localized communities in which the older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger ones. Montessori represents an entirely different approach to education in that individuality and creativity are encouraged while maintaining a structured environment.

The Montessori teacher facilitates the classroom activity; she or he carefully plans the environment in the interest of the children, and helps each child recognize progress from one activity to the other. She is trained to deal with each child individually, allowing him or her to choose from the many activities within his or her ability. She stands back while the child is working, allowing the child satisfaction of self-discovery.

Research studies show the Montessori educated children are well prepared for later life academically, socially and emotionally. In addition to scoring well on standardized tests, Montessori children are ranked above average on such criteria as following directions, turning in work on time, listening attentively, using basic skills, showing responsibility, asking provocative questions, showing enthusiasm for learning and adapting to new situations.