An unmatched education
When the future king of England recently enrolled in a Montessori preschool, a spotlight appeared on Montessori as the latest trend in education, but, in fact, it was developed over a century ago by the Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori. Based on her scientific observations, Dr. Montessori developed a child-centric approach to education that builds on the way children naturally learn. The Montessori method has been a phenomenal success, consistently providing children throughout the world with an unmatched education for over 100 years.
Life-long learners: Children are natural students and have what Dr. Montessori called “absorbent minds”: they want to learn and are equipped with an insatiable curiosity that allows them to do it well. A Montessori education works with those tendencies, not against them. The role of the Montessori teacher is not to rein in the student, but to facilitate learning by guiding and mentoring them in their own process of exploration. This organic approach to education ensures that the children never lose their passion for discovery and grow to become life-long learners.
Nurtures the whole child: The Montessori approach also aims to nurture the whole child, not just intellectually but also socially and emotionally. One of the ways this is accomplished is through multi-age classrooms in which the younger students benefit from the mentorship of their older peers, while the older students develop leadership abilities and a habit of respectful service.
Child-centered approach: The Montessori classroom environment is also designed according to the method’s child-centered philosophy. The furniture and materials are all at a level and scale that makes them entirely accessible to children to facilitate hands-on learning. This accessibility also recognizes a child’s uniqueness, allowing them to take charge of their own learning by following their passions and working at their own pace.
Makes the most of the early learning years: Most of a child’s brain development happens in the first six years of their life. In those critical early years, children go through a series of sensitive periods, during which they are especially receptive to learning particular skills such as language (from birth to age 6), numbers (from ages 4 to 5.5), and manners (from ages 2 to 6). The Montessori method is designed to make the most of these rich learning opportunities.
Proven programs: So, why choose Montessori? It’s not just an organic, holistic approach to education, it’s also scientifically proven to work. Research shows that it has academic advantages and that Montessori children have more advanced social and emotional development than children taught in traditional classrooms.
Sergey Brin and Larry Page (founders of Google): Brin has said, “I do think I benefited from the Montessori education which in some ways gives the students a lot more freedoms to do things at their own pace, to discover… I do think that some of the credit for the willingness to go on your own interests – you can tie that back to the Montessori education.”
Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple) notes that “Montessori schools are doing a better job than most in teaching independent thinking” and teaching children to be leaders and not followers.
Thomas Edison was quoted saying, according to historians at the Thomas Edison National Historic Park, “I like the Montessori method. It teaches through play. It makes learning a pleasure. It follows the natural instincts of the human being. The present system casts the brain into a mold. It does not encourage original thought or reasoning.”
Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon: The Wall Street Journal reports that according to Jeff Bezos’s mother, “young Jeff would get so engrossed in his activities as a Montessori preschooler that his teachers would literally have to pick him up out of his chair to go to the next task.”
Will Wright, inventor of bestselling “The Sims” videogame series, heaps similar praise. “Montessori taught me the joy of discovery,” Mr. Wright said, “It’s all about learning on your terms, rather than a teacher explaining stuff to you. SimCity comes right out of Montessori…”
Jimmy Wales, Founder, Wikipedia has described his childhood private school as a “Montessori influenced philosophy of education.”
Helen Hunt, Academy Award Winning Actress, said “I remember that everything was very fluid. We didn’t sit at desks and rows. I do remember, even though I probably wouldn’t have called it then, working at my own speed and not feeling the pressure to keep up or to hold back, which was a really wonderful gift. I remember loving it… I really thrived there.”
Sean Combs, Music producer/entrepreneur: “I feel like I was nurtured into wanting to be somebody special”.
Jeremy Allaire, founder and CEO of Brightcove, reports “… being educated in a Montessori setting. The Montessori ethos was very formative for me because it built into me a belief in self-direction, independent thought, peer collaboration, responsibility. Those became…my management style, [how I let] people self-direct and collaborate to get things done here.”
Julia Child, chef and author, credits Montessori for her manual dexterity—a key feature of her mastery as a chef—and with the love and joy she found in her work.
Other notable Montessorians:
- Joshua Bell: American violinist
- Sergei Bubka: Olympic Gold Medalist Pole Vault
- Chelsea Clinton: Rhodes Scholar/Presidential Daughter
- George Clooney: Academy Award Winner
- Katherine Graham: Owner/Editor of the Washington Post
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Nobel Prize winner for literature
- Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: Editor, former first lady
- Prince William and Prince Harry: English Royal Family
- Lea Salonga: multi-award singer and Broadway actress
- Taylor Swift: Grammy Award-Winning Singer/Songwriter