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The Montessori method is a unique and comprehensive approach to education based on the discoveries of Dr. Maria Montessori. Dr. Montessori was an Italian physician who began her career working with retarded children. The apparatus she designed for these children succeeded brilliantly. Her wards caught up to and in some cases surpassed the performance of their peers in a competitive reading and writing examination given by the public schools. With this success, Dr. Montessori reasoned that similar apparatus could be used to educate normal children from birth. As she wrote, “The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six. For that is the time when man’s intelligence itself, his greatest implement, is being formed."

Dr. Montessori’s approach was to prepare an environment to facilitate the child’s development, to suit it to the child’s specific needs. In this way, the Montessori classroom is an educational system consistent with the laws by which a child develops naturally. It is a child’s environment that enables the child to develop most freely and enjoyably. And it is the child who determines his own rate of development, not the adult, for Montessori wanted to ensure that “the environment reveal the child, not mold him.”

Dr. Montessori believed that no human being educated another person. He must do it himself or it will never be done. A truly educated individual continues learning long after the hours and years he spends in a classroom because he is motivated from within by a natural curiosity and love of knowledge. She felt, therefore, that the goal for early education should not be to fill the child with facts from a pre-selected course of studies but rather to cultivate his own natural desire to learn. As a result, Montessori children concentrate with enthusiasm and achieve a real and profound understanding of their work. This intellectual progress is accompanied by emotional growth. The children become harmonious in movement, independent in work, and honest and helpful with one another. Emphasis is placed, first and foremost, on forming the individual, on development of a well-integrated personality, self discipline, self motivation, and self confidence, Academic achievements, of course, always gratifying and welcome, accompany the child’s inner development. The Montessori method develops a sense of discovery and awareness that mere surface knowledge can never equal.