Here’s why. “Montessorians”, like many good teachers of all types, believe in their work. They believe in their founder and her principals. Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman medical doctor in Italy (1896), was also learned in biology, psychiatry and anthropology. The attention of her accomplishment lead to an appointment by Italy’s Minister of Education, and this appointment gives Dr. Montessori the chance to work with children. She works with children from the poorest areas of Italy some of which were cognitively challenged. With her scientific discipline and relentless tenacity, these poor kids, including those with greater challenges, were able to pass standard testing with above-average scores. Her studies of educational methods included boys and girls from races and cultures all over the world. It was through these studies that she found and declared two principles that are the foundation of Montessori teaching: To simplify they mean…One, children as a group have universal characteristics. Two, each child is truly unique and should be accepted, respected and admired as one of life’s genuine treasures.
Today, Montessori can be found working throughout the world. In the United States, Montessori went to work in the mid1960s. It grew slowly but since 2000, the use of Montessori teaching methods has approximately doubled in formal channels. Additionally, there are many other schools where Montessori programs have been implemented and still more centers and schools that borrow from the Montessori philosophy.
Whether she realized it or not, Dr. Montessori wasn’t just an agent for change in global education. She was the architect for the infrastructure that allows a child to change their future. She was and is, via her founding of Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), the great equalizer. There are many important, successful and proven ways to help children learn. Montessori is not the only way to help children find the knowledge they’ll need in this life, but it is certainly one of the most widely proven methods.
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