Educated at the University of Rome, Maria Montessori graduated with a degree of doctor of medicine in 1896 and her story would make a great research paper topic. Interested in the education of children, Montessori changed the focus of her career to developing a method of teaching for both gifted and learning disabled children alike. This method is called the Montessori approach and is founded on the concept of education as a primary aid to life and, while its principles are applied primarily from childhood to young adulthood, their value can be evidenced throughout the lifespan.
The Montessori approach to education encourages children from birth to 6 years of age to gather information based on the five senses because it is during this stage of development that information is gathered and retained through the senses. The Montessori approach encourages children ages 6 to 12 to think abstractly as they explore their interests. Between the ages of 12 and 18, the Montessori approach focuses on encouraging students to explore their own society as well as how to be a part of it and how to make their contribution to it. At all stages of learning, the Montessori approach encourages students to become problem solvers through an aggressive hands-on approach.
The Montessori Approach Has the Following Benefits
- The Montessori approach supports the use of interesting, reality based tools that work to keep children involved and motivated in the educational process.
- Constructs a road map to life long learning by incorporating skills to navigate situations and produce informed decisions based on deductive reasoning, regardless of what situations or questions may arise.
- The Montessori approach is lauded for building self-esteem in students because it encourages analytical thinking, which is a basic problem-solving tool.
- Montessori is credited with supporting the development of strong learning skills, which leads to a greater sense of accomplishment among students and promotes a greater sense of independence later in life.