The Montessori style of education was first conceptualized by a lady called Maria Montessori, after whom this style of education is now named.
Montessori has become an integral part of our education system. There is barely a child who does not attend a Montessori school before getting admitted to a bigger school. It has been observed that it helps to develop and mold one’s personality.
She was appointed as the Assistant Doctor at the Psychiatric Clinic in the University of Rome. It is here that she first came in contact with children who needed special care.
She was an Italian physician. And somehow it was her first profession that led to the second one. One that made her famous all over the world. These looked after the kids who were a little slow in learning, compared to others.
Montessori observed that these kids were a victim of the current education system. So, she decided to change it.
She noticed that just treatment was not enough to treat these kids properly. She found out that the only way to treat them was through proper education.
Montessori decided to dedicate her life to these children. She was focussed on understanding the learning pattern of a child, up to the age of six.
With this dedication and a vision to change the education system forever, she opened the first ‘Montessori’ school in the world called Casa Dei Bambini.
In the year 1906, she was invited to educate and take care of a group of children. As their working parents did not have enough time to take care of them. Montessori decided to approach the task in a whole new different level. She realized that books might make them learned but not educated.
Quite to her own surprise, she noticed that when given a choice the children preferred to engage themselves in more practical activity than just playing with toys.
Instead of teaching them in a conventional way, she gave them the freedom to perform any activity that they enjoyed. Moreover, they did not need any motivation to do the activities they loved.
Slowly, their love for a particular activity automatically made them self-disciplined. Little did she know that her style of teaching would revolutionize the entire education system.
Gradually, she started including more practical activities and exercises. She started including activities that would help to shape their overall character and personality.
According to her, one should let children’s natural interests take the lead. She divided the time in such a way that it had a place for everything from physical activities, intellectual exercises, and even prayer. She also wanted to inculcate the importance of cleanliness and mutual respect for each other.
By 1925, there were more than 1000 ‘Montessori’ schools in America alone.
Her style of education became so effective that everybody started to take notice of her.
people understood that her “prepared learning” environment not only made the kids more happy and creative.
She had a vision to change the education system forever and by the time of her death she had almost achieved her vision.
The Second World War forced her to flee and she came to India. In India, she started she developed a program called Education for Peace.
Although, it showed a lot of promise in its initial years, during the 1940’s the craze for Montessori schools had gone down a little bit.
Her work with the program earned her two Nobel Peace Prize nominations.
During the 1960’s, which people call as the second coming of the Montessori system of education. These schools again became popular. And this time, their popularity was not just limited to the West.
She gave the world the most beautiful gift. The gift to teach young kids. If this is not a revolution then I don’t know what is.