Did you know that the Montessori method of education is more than 100 years old? It is a comprehensive child-centred philosophy of education deeply rooted in developmental psychology. The method was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 1900s in Rome, Italy and since then, Montessori schools have grown rapidly despite the lack of research on its benefits and outcomes. Currently there are 22,000 Montessori schools in 110 countries worldwide.
The first school was started in the slums of Rome in 1907, and by 1910, news of the innovative technique had spread beyond Europe, and teachers throughout the world were eager to learn it. Early Montessori educators were taught by Dr. Montessori herself. Her courses drew students from as far as Chile and Australia, and within a few years there were Montessori schools on 5 continents.
Many studies have been conducted on preschool, elementary and middle school Montessori children in the past decade. Results from these studies indicate that Montessori students have a positive, community-based classroom environment and enjoy learning and working hard. The results point out that Montessori children perform better than traditionally educated children in Mathematics, Language Arts and problem-solving. As a parent, I believe problem-solving, working in communities and being a catalyst in our community to foster better living conditions are important to the development of our civilisation.
The Montessori method is rooted in respect, a shared purpose and trusting in another’s ability to make a meaningful contribution which is key when working in communities. Students in Montessori schools overall have a higher quality educational experience. Many other non-Montessori studies reaffirm these facts.
Research does affirm what Dr. Maria Montessori said many years ago. However, it only matters to us as parents if there is an impact on our child. It is thus by no surprise that one of the main reasons that parents send their children to Montessori schools is because of their attraction to specific Montessori principles and the opportunity for their child to engage in a self-directed study with freedom of choice. Yet another reason is respect for the child and leaving children to work independently at their own pace. I personally love this point as it does not matter whether they are faster or slower than their peers. They learn for themselves without unnecessary help.
Self-efficacy, mixed-age classrooms, peer learning, mentoring, collaboration, freedom of movement, developing the whole child are some of the principles of Montessori that parents cite as reasons for choosing a Montessori education for their child. Students in Montessori schools overall have a higher quality educational experience.
So why would I choose a Montessori school for my child?
- I am attracted to Montessori principles
- I anticipate valuable outcomes
- I love their beautiful environments
Despite the resurgence and widespread adoption, the Montessori educational method remains difficult for many to comprehend and misconceptions about the method are common. However, once you come across it, it is difficult not to keep learning more about it and one day I hope that every school on every continent adopts the principles and philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori.