Mind, body, heart, soul. Teaching academic and social skills, as well as life skills, to last a lifetime is the foundation that our Montessori teacher training is based upon. Our Montessori trained teachers become specialists in the age group they work with. They become keen observers and adept facilitators, recognizing varying paces and learning styles, helping not doing, coaching not lecturing. Our Montessori trained teachers believe in unfolding a child, not molding or stuffing with data.
PCTE Montessori training is guided not by bureaucratic edict but by a philosophy of education that espouses respect for the person, nurturing surroundings and self-reliance. This includes purposeful and fulfilling activity that breaks down the artificial division of “work” and “play”.
History of Montessori Education
The Montessori method of education is known throughout the world. It is based on the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician who practiced in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Maria Montessori’s first experience in education was as a doctor treating children with developmental disabilities. While observing these children and responding to their needs, she discovered some amazing abilities and qualities that no one had recognized. She was so successful with them that she was invited to work with poor children of normal intelligence in the slums of San Lorenzo in Rome. It was there that she began her scientific investigation and observation of children, which became the foundation of her educational philosophy. She observed that children possess an intrinsic desire to explore, discover and learn about their world.
She also saw that they learn best within a social environment which supports personal development. Her “new” method of education focused on the development of the whole child in all areas of life. Children who were enrolled in her schools began to achieve and thrive within this setting. Word of her work spread rapidly. Visitors from all over the world came to her schools, to verify with their own eyes the reports of these “remarkable children,” who were learning according to this philosophy. In response, Maria Montessori began a life of world travel dedicated to establishing schools and teacher-training centers using method bearing her name. Nancy McCormick Rambusch, who founded the American Montessori Society in 1960, is credited with establishing Montessori education as an American phenomenon. Its emphasis includes parental involvement and a diversity of implementation strategies. Today in America there are both independent and public schools using Montessori method, under the direction of teachers especially trained for this task.
Maria Montessori was born in Italy on August 31, 1870. She was born to a well respected family who expected her to grow up and fulfill the traditional role of the Italian woman. Instead she pursued an advanced degree at the University of Rome and became the first woman physician to graduate in Italy. Her interests drew her to work with children, initially those who were disadvantaged and had special needs.
Because she was an anthropologist, Montessori’s decisions about working with children were made by observing them first. She was not trained as an educator; thus, her decisions were based on watching what children did and what attracted their attention. Through her observations and trial and error, she developed what became known as the Montessori Method of Education. Her method was a radical departure in Montessori’s own time because she did not place children in restricting environments, but instead designed the environment to reflect the children. Tables and chairs were child-sized and materials were placed on low shelves to be readily available to the students. In addition, many of the skills were designed to teach children how to become more independent.
Montessori continued throughout her life to work for the betterment of the lives of children, founding training centers for teachers and dispersing this method of education around the world. During her later years, Montessori’s focus centered around educating children to promote the principles of peace. Her legacy has been the establishment of Montessori schools around the world, which promotes the cause of the child as a citizen of the world.