Montessori presents an entirely different approach to education, allowing the child to develop in a natural way.
Above all, there is an appreciation of the innate potential of the child and his/her ability to develop in environmental conditions of freedom and love. The prepared environment is calm, peaceful and appropriate to the child’s needs. A major principle of Montessori is that a young child learns through sensory motor activity – by doing.
The method also emphasis learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching or reading. Child sized learning materials designed to aid children develop their senses to learn are offered. These materials are divided into five sections: practical life, sensorial, math, language and culture.
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, self-discipline and love of learning. The result of the Montessori method is that each child is given the best possible conditions to promote physical, social, emotional and intellectual development, wherein the aim is to help the child fulfil their potential.
Dr. Maria Montessori was born in Italy in 1870. In 1896 she became the first woman graduate from the University of Rome Medical School. During her studies in psychology education, philosophy and sociology, she was able to study the child from birth through all the stages of growth.
Through her observations she noticed that a child was capable of absorbing knowledge and acquiring skills at a very young age. Dr Montessori's educational approach aims to aid the development of the whole child to the full. In 1907 she founded her first school with the principals she has created. Her nursery was called ‘casa dei bambini’ – the children’s house.
Atmosphere and environnement are important factors of blooming and wellbeing for the child.
The atmosphere of the Sunflowers wants to be calm and serene, at the same time felted and alive. The child must be able to evolve/move freely in this space, in order to evolve, free to choose and to act without neither interior obstacle nor external. This freedom is neither to be considered as a "laissez-faire" nor a carelessness. Here are corollary the concepts of autonomy, of responsibility, of willingness, of self discipline and of respect.
The Montessori teacher follows the child all along the way, following his own interests.
He follows the child's development, and puts the right material at his disposal when he or she needs to use it. The Montessori teacher, who is foremost a whole observer, is there to notice the emergence of the particular interests of each child for such or such training. If he wants, it means that he is ready, because inwardly the child knows at which time he is ready to learn such or such concept, according to Maria Montessori.
The Montessori pedagogy proposes 180 different materials, allowing the trainings through more than 200 exercises.
The three to six-year old children are gathered together in only one group. That allows: - the older ones to help the small ones and to give the older ones the sense of responsibility for those, who are ready for it. The material in its totality is at the disposal of all the children, with an adapted height, in the class. The children can choose the material, which they have desire for using at the time when they are ready to use it.