Maria Montessori began her work as a physician in an insane asylum for deficient children. As Montessori observed and worked with the children she noticed that the children seemed to have inner needs that were not being met. Maria Montessori spent many years developing materials that focused on the needs of the deficient children.
She created the state Orthophrenic School after she had studied in the London and Paris the works of Jean Itard and Edouard Seguin. Maria Montessori moved all of the deficient children to a hospital in the center of Rome. Where she focused on the development of the children. She found with the materials that she had created, a very significant growth in the children. She worked with deficient children for almost ten years; during this time she received her degrees in Philosophy, Psychology, and Anthropology. Montessori also had her own private practice, worked on nervous diseses in children, and served on the board for the women’s training college. Montessori wrote by had the works of Itard and Seguin, to gain a better understand of her work.
Maria Montessori’s method of teaching provided her students an outlet for learning when all doors of development had been closed to them. Montessori’s method helped her students to test with “normal” children in the elementary schools; the deficient children passed these tests with scores equivalent to the “normal” children. Montessori was not happy with these results. She viewed the passing of the deficient children as disturbing. She was concerned that deficient children could pass tests that children supposedly superior in cognitive and physical skills were able to pass with the same skill level. This discovery lead Montessori into observing “normal” children; she determined that her method of teaching were superior to the schools during this period.
Maria Montessori was offered a position to start a “Children’s House” in the poor district of the San Lorenzo quarter in Italy. Montessori was not sure how her method would affect normal children, but she hoped the results would surpass her expectations.
The Montessori method has many facets of learning, its two most important facets are: the freedom of the child, and the Environment. The environment can help or hinder a child’s development, so Montessori believed that it is a secondary aspect for development. To free a child is to open the doors of learning, not to let the child do what ever the child wants to do. The job of an educator is to identify and aid the child’s development on an individual basis, If the child has the inner guide to directing his own growth then he will be free to develop his own will. Montessori noticed that the children were sensitive to specific activities during certain periods in their development; she dubbed these periods the “Sensitive periods”. Montessori believed that a child must be active in his learning, and be able to manipulate things with all his senses to fully develop. A child before the age of three is learning the way to his inner development, after age three the child is perfecting those learned abilities, and concentrating on the development of his cognitive abilities. Montessori developed many activities (not just materials) that focus, attract, and work with the children to fully develop each individual child. The environment includes not only the room set-up, but also the materials, and the teachers. There are six areas in the room set-up they include: Practical life, sensorial, natural sciences, mathematics, geography, and language. These areas help the children to experience a controlled yet free choice environment to satisfy their inner needs for development. Inside these areas are components that add to the environment: Freedom, Structure and order, reality and nature, beauty and atmosphere, materials, development of community life. Each area has activities that promote self-correction,