The Montessori method of education is based on the pioneering work of Dr. Maria Montessori: engineer, medical doctor, educator and lifelong advocate for peace.
Casa dei Bambini, Dr. Montessori’s first school, was opened in 1907 in
San Lorenzo, a suburb of Rome. Bringing the scientific techniques of observation and experimentation to this new venture, she spent her days observing the children and guiding the teacher to maximize the individual learning experience for each child. A radical idea at the time, the classroom was filled with everyday objects, scaled down to child size: tables,
chairs, shelves, brooms – all designed for purposeful activity specifically
Concentrating on the end goal of education, namely the adult the child will become, Dr. Montessori recognized that self-motivation is the only valid impulse to learning. The teacher prepares the environment, organizes activities, functions as the reference person and offers the child opportunities. But it is the child who learns, motivated through the work itself, to persist in his chosen task. The Montessori child is free to learn because he has acquired an “inner discipline” from exposure to both physical and mental order. This is the core of Montessori’s educational philosophy. Habits of concentration, determination, and thoroughness established in early childhood produce a confident and competent learner in later years.
In a true Montessori school, everything in the environment (the adults, the physical space and the work on the shelves) is child oriented, designed to meet the needs of the individual child emotionally, physically, cognitively and spiritually. Learning is initiated by the children and is incrementally expanded, ensuring success. The result is graduates who have a sense of themselves as individuals, as part of a community and as part of the world.
These key elements of respect for self, respect for others and respect for environment form the foundation for improving communication and tolerance between cultures. Dr. Montessori understood that providing the kind of educational environment that would lead a child to fulfilling his innate potential was the way to support the child in establishing inner peace. Supporting a culture of peace in the learning environment will support the child in establishing peaceful relationships with others. Taking small steps with children is the best possibility to create a culture of peace for