The Montessori concept of education allows children to experience the joy of learning at an early age and provides an environment in which intellectual, moral, physical, spiritual and social growth flourish. It provides the vehicle whereby the child may attain inner discipline and control; he becomes the intelligent and responsible master of himself.
The basic principle in the Montessori philosophy of education is that every child carries within him potentialities of the MAN that he can become. In order to develop his physical, intellectual and spiritual powers to the fullest, he must have freedom - a freedom to be achieved through order and self discipline. Montessori recognizes that children are guided by an inborn, natural process of growth and that, by removing the obstacles to this unfolding and answering the needs of the child as they arise, education should be an “aid to life.” Children attending a Montessori school learn to work with a group and develop the self-discipline required of their tasks. They are introduced to all phases of learning and appreciate understanding and the pleasure of knowledge. They attain confidence in achievement and are stimulated to develop their own talent and interest to a high degree.
Dr. Maria Montessori considered mastery of self and one’s environment the most important objective of her program. According to Montessori, the child during his first three years absorbs a wealth of information from the environment. This is organized during his next three years. Hence, it can be said that the child literally builds himself through experience in the environment.
Montessori characterizes the child as a sensitive creature who passes through a series of periods of sensibility which are times of special receptivity for certain learning’s. These critical periods are fleeting in nature and should be utilized educationally, since they cannot be re-captured once past.
Dr. Montessori shows the child in a new light, as a being with great potentials who creates the adult individual with positive or negative tendencies and characteristics according to the experiences he has during the years of growth and development in the process of forming the MAN.
Montessori education aims at giving children the opportunity of spontaneous activity in an environment which is specially prepared for them. They can experience harmonious cooperation with other children within the framework of the class community.
Children are free to choose their own work, but there is a rule that when they are finished what they have chosen to do, they must put everything back in its place.
Interested observers and parents are stuck by the sight of children who are completely absorbed in the work of their choice, find in it joy and contentment, become serene and orderly, and are kind to other children. They lose their egotism and they spontaneously obey the rules of their own little community.
The “naughtiness” of children disappears when they are given the opportunity and means to follow their own instinctive impulses for development. Independence and determination -assets of a strong personality- are developed through work carried out with full concentration. How this happens is of less importance, but it has to be an activity which completely absorbs each child and fulfills their urge to explore the world and to develop their skills.