Maria Montessori: the woman, the educator
Maria Montessori, doctor of medicine, specialized in anthropology and psychiatry, has developed an educational approach based on scientific observation of the cognitive and psychological development of the child. In 1906, she accepted the challenge of welcoming fifty children between three and six years old from working families in San Lorenzo, a suburb of Rome, in order to offer them a little education.
This is the birth of “La Maison des Enfants” which will become a real laboratory of applied pedagogy. She adapts the furniture to the size of the children and offers sensory equipment, inspired by the doctor Seguin, which she perfects. She observes childhood which she studies with her heart as much as with her intelligence: she suggests material and only maintains that which the children select.
The environment, the exercises proposed, the educational concepts are the result of the observation of children evolving freely in an environment created for them, without inappropriate adult intervention. Witness to the gradual blossoming of the minds of young children from a disadvantaged background, she continuously uses the data from her research in the progressive synthesis of the child's personality.
What doctor Maria Montessori discovered through observation is now universally accepted; young children possess an intelligence with extraordinary abilities that she calls Absorbing Mind.
Read it biography by Maria Montessori.
During the first three years, the child absorbs the human characteristics of his environment and builds from these elements his own personality through the simple act of living. Walking, language, habits and customs of the surrounding environment are acquired through its own activity.
Guided by guiding sensitivities which push him to incessant activity, the child discovers the world, draws from the environment the elements of his physical, psychological and mental construction.
This little explorer then demonstrates an exceptional capacity for concentration and learning. The absorbent mind, this particular form of childish intelligence, finds its nourishment only if the child can move (move) and act freely, without unnecessary intervention from adults and in an appropriate environment.
Maria Montessori meets these conditions and discovers with surprise that very young children are interested in subjects often reserved for older children, such as geometry, grammar, botany when offered to them with sensory tools. Addressing these subjects at a young age lays the foundations of exact knowledge and prepares the mind for abstraction.
Maria Montessori discovered, like Freud, that man's destiny is decided in the first six years of his life, that every human being develops according to certain immutable laws.