In the current essay, the question of how education is an aid to life, according to Maria Montessori, is addressed. First of all, a brief overview of Montessori’s biography is presented. Secondly, a summary of the Montessori method of education is provided. Thirdly, the method is considered in further detail. Fourthly, and lastly, the question of how education is an aid to life is answered based on the Montessori method. The overall aim of the work is to present and analyze the Maria Montessori method of the educational approach.
Biography of Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori was an Italian scientist, educator, and physician. She was born in 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy, and soon after, her family moved to Rome. Montessori received an excellent education – she graduated from the University of Rome as a doctor of medicine. In 1901 she devoted herself to educational philosophy and anthropology and became a lecturer at the Pedagogic School of the University of Rome. The Montessori method is one of the remarkable achievements during her career. Nowadays, her name is widely known due to her valuable contribution to pedagogy and educational methods.
A Summary of the Montessori Method
Dr. Maria Montessori created the Montessori Method in the 1990s. The method considers education as an aid and a preparation for life and adulthood. The approach is not a traditional way of teaching that is usually passive listening. She states: “Education must no longer be based upon a syllabus but upon the knowledge of human life” (Montessori, 1995, p. 10). She offers to gain knowledge through active experiences in the surrounding environment. The main aim of the method is to help children become adults through education processes. Besides, the approach explains (in the atmosphere) children what life-long learning is, and why it is essential and exciting. In one of her books, she pays much attention to the concept of “education from birth.” (Montessori, 1946, p. 37). She notes: “So the first period of life has been fixed for the storing of impressions from the environment, and is, therefore, the period of the greatest psychic activity; it is the activity of absorption of everything that there is in the environment” (Montessori, 1946, p. 37). Below the method is presented and discussed in greater detail.
A Description of the Method
Describing the method in further detail, it should be mentioned that the Montessori approach is based on seven fundamental principles. The first principle is that education should be experimental (by using unique educational materials) rather than passive. For instance, children learning by this method will not memorize math rules, but instead, they will be taught to count using some objects. This way is a practical and integrative style to memorize and learn. Moreover, it encourages children to continue the education process and develop an interest in education.
The second principle is that classrooms are mixed-age and mixed skill levels. According to her method, it is essential to include in classrooms children of different ages (three-year age groups, for example, from 3 to 6 years old), as it will help younger children observe their peers’ behavior and learn lessons from them in real-life situations (Clemer, 2020). Moreover, placed in one classroom, children with different kinds of skills will enhance the sharing of knowledge and develop communication.
The third and essential principle of the Montessori method is the uninterrupted work period. The approach significantly differs from what ‘classical’ schools offer nowadays. Maria Montessori believed that uninterrupted (from 2 to 3 hours) classes are more efficient than shorter sessions. She stated that interrupted classes do not allow children to be fully involved and concentrated. Concerning the fourth principle, Montessori schools have two additional academic areas in their curricula: practical life and sensorial. Practical life classes are devoted to learning skills that are vitally important in everyday life (for instance, for smaller children, it can be tying shoes or tidying up, for older – budgeting). Sensorial classes are for younger students that learn through their senses such as smell, hearing, listening.
The fifth principle is focused on the role of the teacher in the class. The Montessori method presents a teacher as a guide, changing the traditional position. A teacher is instead a person who helps children find the right tools for learning than reading a book aloud or lecturing them. The sixth principle is that children are given certain freedom to express themselves and their interests. However, it should be noted that freedom exists within limits, which means that children are not allowed to distract their peers or dance in the classroom. The seventh principle of the Montessori method is peace education. Maria Montessori found it vital as she lived during the two world wars (Clemer, 2020). In her view, it is essential to teach children to live peacefully and learn how to resolve conflicts in a non-violent manner. The described above seven principles of the Montessori method fundamentally differ from what children face in most ‘classical’ schools.
How Education is an Aid to Life
The answer to the question of how education is an aid to life, according to Maria Montessori, lies in the seven fundamental principles that were discussed above. The educator’s approach is designed to help children effectively adapt to real-life situations and develop essential skills. Unlike traditional education systems, the Montessori method is concentrated on experiences that are tightly related to the future adult life of children. First of all, the learning process is based on practice allowing students to implement their knowledge and skills fully. Such a method helps children to remember information and apply it in future life successfully.
Moreover, the duration of classes is close to what children will experience in the future when high concentration is required. Secondly, the approach provides such an in-class atmosphere, which is close to real life. Children of different ages and skills are mixed, which will help them to adapt better in the future world full of diversities. Thirdly, freedom within limits is encouraged, which makes children responsible, proactive, creative, and able to control their emotions and desires. These qualities are essential for real-life situations, and their presence is key to personal development. The Montessori method is, thus, an aid to the future of children, as it focuses on acquiring essential skills.
In summary, the current essay aimed to present Maria’s Montessori method of the educational approach based on scientific research on children’s behavior and to answer the question of how education is an aid to life. In the first part of the paper, the biography of Maria Montessori and a brief overview of her method were presented. The second part was devoted to describing the approach in detail: the seven main principles of the method were addressed. The third and last part was an answer to the question of how education is an aid to life, according to Maria Montessori.
Clemer, C. (2020). What is Montessori? 10 key principles all parents should know. Motherly. Web.
Montessori, M. (1946). Education for a new world. Kalakshetra.
Montessori, M. (1995). The absorbent mind. Henry Holt and Company.