Dr Maria Montessori (born 1870 in Italy) began her profession not as an educator but as a doctor of medicine. After extensive experience in medical practice and research she studied education, philosophy, psychology and anthropology. She understood the child's need to achieve balance, orientation and competence.
Fundamental to the Montessori approach is a great respect for the child as an individual.
Leading the child towards mastering his environment is the aim of the school. Freedom to move and work is limited only because the child needs to see himself as one of a group. The liberty of the child has as its limit the collective interest.
The Montessori directress is concerned with the total development of the child: physical, social, emotional and intellectual.
Fundamental Principles of Montessori Schools
Principles adopted at the 2011 SAMA AGM
Principle 1: Classes in Montessori Schools are mixed-age and non-graded.
Principle 2: Montessori schools accommodate an extended period of uninterrupted self-chosen activity - a period during which children can choose their own activity and work undisturbed for a minimum of three hours.
Principle 3: Rewards and Punishments are not used in a Montessori environment.
Principle 4: A prepared environment is a critical component of Montessori Pedagogy.
Principle 5: The adults in the Montessori environment exhibit and apply the principles of Montessori pedagogy through:
Principle 6: Montessori schools develop curriculum guidelines which conform with the vision of child development and the educative goals outlined by Maria Montessori.