The Montessori philosophy and teaching method were created over 100 years ago, in Italy, by Dottoressa Maria Montessori. There are more than 10,000 Montessori schools in the world (including around 4,500 in the US).
Maria Montessori was one of the first women physicians in Italy, but became fascinated by the potential of very young children, not only to learn easily, but to teach themselves; and that once the child reached the age of 6 years old, a unique learning window of opportunity began to close.
Montessori was the first educator to design a learning environment and curriculum specifically designed for preschool age children.
Children in the Montessori classroom have freedom, within limits. They have freedom of choice of activity, freedom of movement and freedom of socialization. They develop a love of learning and become self-starters and independent workers, while at the same time, learning love and respect for others and for their world.
The Montessori teacher gradually shifts discipline from externally-enforced, adult discipline to internalized self-discipline on the part of each child, as the child matures and is ready to accept the responsibility of self-control that is the natural balance to freedom.
The classroom has many learning centers, with hundreds of activities that children may choose from, each designed to help the child to understand a particular concept. There are areas for writing, reading, arithmetic, geometry, physical science, botany, zoology, geography, history, art, music, sensorial, daily living skills, fine and gross motor activities, and much more.