The Montessori Method

Montessori Education to Aid Development

Image
Palm Valley Montessori School follows the Montessori theory and practice of aiding development through her method of education, which she called Scientific Pedagogy. The Montessori Method and materials, as developed for the typical child by Dr. Maria Montessori, form the foundation for the school curriculum for children in the Infant Nido, Primary and Elementary School ages. The Adolescent Program is based on Montessori’s writings about the developmental and educational needs of children in the Third (Adolescent) Plane of Development. Our Adolescent program is modeled after the Hersey Montessori Farm School. Modifications to these curricula (method of presentation, instructional materials and learning environment) are made in order to meet the special needs of individual children who require additional help to access and be successful in an inclusive Montessori environment. Modifications are made through a collaborative process in consultation with specialists in the medical community—such as Speech and Language Pathologists, Occupational and Physical Therapists, Developmental Pediatricians, Neuropsychologists, and other specialists relevant to the child’s particular disability.

All Montessori lead teachers have AMI teaching credentials at the level in which they are teaching. All staff are trained in a baseline commonality of the school day – including the Montessori philosophy, appropriate interactions with children in Montessori classrooms, teaching children conflict resolution strategies, teaching children self-regulation strategies, and behavior management and discipline policies. All staff have received training in observing and supporting children with disabilities and/or learning challenges in an inclusive Montessori environment.

Following the Montessori educational philosophy, Palm Valley Montessori School strives to serve as an aid to the life of the child. This means that our mission is to provide environments rich with developmental materials and activities and teachers who are well-prepared to guide children in their work of building themselves into the adults they will become. These environments contain a multi-age community of children (with an age span of at least 3 years), and these children are be availed of a daily 2-3 hour uninterrupted work period.

Palm Valley Montessori School operates high quality, authentic Montessori programs. However, in our work serving the needs of all children in an inclusion school, we push the frontiers of current Montessori practice by introducing state-of-the-art modifications and additions that create not just an appropriate educational program for each child with special needs, but a therapeutic program that reduces/minimizes a child’s barriers to learning and to being included as well.
The Montessori Philosphy

Every child carries within himself the person he will become. Palm Valley Montessori School aims to provide children an education that fulfills their intellectual, social, and emotional potential. In order to fully develop, the child is given significant freedom in a specially prepared environment and is respected as an individual capable of great works. The child joyfully explores his environment and makes his own discoveries while guided and encouraged by his teachers. The child learns with deep understanding because he is allowed to interact thoroughly with the material. According to Montessori, all children share an aspiration to become competent and independent human beings. Palm Valley Montessori School aids this desire by providing the best stimuli at the ideal time. However, it is the child who is the author of his own education both in his preschool years and his lifetime.

The Montessori method of education was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori through a process of careful observation, scientific design, research on child development, and trial and error over five decades. Dr. Maria Montessori was born in Italy in 1870. She gained recognition as the first female physician in Italy upon her graduation from medical school in 1896. She was a scientific observer and it was through her clinical observations that she formed her theories about how children learn. She returned to university in 1901 to study psychology and philosophy and soon became a professor at the University of Rome. However, she was drawn to work with young children. In 1906, she gave up her medical practice and university chair to work with poor children in the San Lorenzo district of Rome. It was there that she established the Casa dei Bambino or "Children's House." The results were extraordinary. Young children from the poorest families in Rome, thought to be incapable of civilized living, were transformed into excelling students. Montessori's revolutionary teaching methods caught the attention of the world community and a movement was born. Today, thousands of Montessori programs exist in private, public, and charter schools all over the world. The Montessori method is revered as a natural and joyful way to engage the child in learning and develop his potential.

Montessori education moves the child toward normalization. This term is frequently used in Montessori education and, unfortunately, frequently misunderstood. Dr. Montessori did not intend to imply the child be made "average" or "typical." Normalization is a technical word borrowed from the field of anthropology. Think of this term as meaning possessing an inner peace and confidence in one's role. This confidence, peace, satisfaction in one's role is developed through concentrated work and self-discipline. Dr. Montessori wrote, "Only 'normalised' children, aided by their environment, show in their subsequent development those wonderful powers that we describe: spontaneous discipline, continuous and happy work, social sentiments of help and sympathy for others. . . . An interesting piece of work, freely chosen, which has the virtue of inducing concentration rather than fatigue, adds to the child's energies and mental capacities, and leads him to self-mastery. . . . One is tempted to say that the children are performing spiritual exercises, having found the path of self-perfectionment and of ascent to the inner heights of the soul." (Dr. Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, 1949) Assisting the child in this development is the true goal of Montessori instruction.

Academic success is only one of the yardsticks by which we can measure the benefits of a Montessori education. The Montessori method is truly an education of the whole person, not just the mind. A Montessori child will...

  • understand himself and develop greater self-respect and self-assurance
  • develop critical thinking skills and apply past experience to solve new challenges
  • learn for the pure delight of learning and this trait will last a lifetime
  • work independently and think independently
  • develop great self-discipline and make appropriate choices
  • develop intrinsic motivation and the desire to challenge himself
  • judge his own performance and progress
  • develop excellent concentration

Books by Dr. Maria Montessori


To learn more about Dr. Maria Montessori and her philosophy, here is a partial list of books to explore:

    The Absorbent Mind
  • The Montessori Method
  • The Secret of Childhood
  • The Discovery of the Child
  • From Childhood to Adolescence
  • To Educate the Human Potential

These books and other Montessori-related books are available for purchase through the PTO's Amazon.com Store.

Montessori FAQ


For answers to frequently asked questions, click here.

 

Montessori Links


Below are the organizations that can help you learn more about Montessori. Click on the links to explore.

Association Montessori Internationale
American Montessori Society