The approach to education known as the Montessori Method was developed in the early 1900s by Dr. Maria Montessori, and Italian physician and educator. Maria Montessori was the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome Medical School. Her background in medicine, psychiatry, biology and anthropology, led her to approach education, not as a philosopher or educator, but as a scientist. She observed the child, and then tested, and retested her ideas and practices.
Maria Montessori felt that the goal of early childhood education should be to nurture a child’s natural desire to learn. She believed that education should be an aid to life. In The Absorbent Mind, Maria Montessori wrote, “The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one – the period from birth to age 6. For that is the time when man’s intelligence itself is being formed.”
As a Children’s House staff, we are honored to spend part of these important years with the children at J. J. Hill Montessori. Maria Montessori often compared the mind of a child to a sponge. It literally absorbs information from the environment. She concluded that a child’s experience could be enhanced by a classroom where he/she could manipulate materials which would demonstrate basic educational information.