“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.”

~ Dr. Maria Montessori

Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician, devoted her career to the observation and study of children. Her teaching method has been tested, with over 100 years of success in diverse cultures around the world. The Montessori philosophy was based on her findings and capitalizes on children’s developmental stages. Dr. Montessori observed that children experience sensitive periods, or windows of opportunity, as they grow. During each of these developmental phases, learning is naturally absorbed and internalized. In the early years, before age six, children learn through sensory-motor activities, working with materials that develop their cognitive powers through direct experiences of seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and movement.

Every child has a unique learning style and Montessori teachers nurture this through individual and small group lessons. The classes are formed with multi-aged groupings, allowing older children to mentor younger children and younger children to observe the older, reinforcing knowledge they have already mastered. The classrooms are set up with age-appropriate Montessori materials that encourage independence, freedom within limits, a sense of order and an uninterrupted work cycle. The materials allow for the learning to unfold.

The Montessori approach puts children at the centre of the learning process. In a traditional school setting, the teacher is the focus of the class and is responsible for the children’s actions. In the Montessori classroom, the focus is on helping develop motivation and skills to help children learn for themselves. A child’s inherent flexibility allows this method to adapt to the needs of the individual, regardless of the level of ability or learning style. The Montessori approach values the human spirit and the development of the whole child – physical, social, emotional and cognitive.

“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.”

~ Dr. Maria Montessori