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Montessori Basics

At the dawn of the twentieth century, Dr. Maria Montessori began her revolutionary work with impoverished children in Rome, Italy. As a result of Dr. Montessori's keen observation of the children as well as her background in medicine and psychology, she quickly recognized that the key formative years are those between birth and the age of six.

The Absorbent Mind

The child before six has a great capacity for mental absorption--what Dr. Montessori called the absorbent mind. The young child's absorbent mind will never repeat its extraordinary ability to:

  • absorb language and movement
  • internalize order
  • learn through sensorial exploration

Never will these sensitivities be more alive than in the preschool years, and never again will learning be so easy--or so much fun.

What Dr. Montessori Accomplished

Under Maria Montessori's guidance, shy and neglected children soon began reading, writing, and doing arithmetic.

As well, these children were considerably more:

  • alert
  • out-going
  • self-confident
  • self-disciplined
  • sociable
  • respectful of each other
  • respectful of their environment.

When these accomplishments became known in Euope, Dr. Montessori captured that continent's attention. Today, Montessori schools flourish around the world. In the Netherlands, for example, it is a complete alternative to the public system--from preschool through to College.

As educational experts constantly remind us, the early childhood years have the greatest influence on a person's development. Perhaps this is why Montessori has become so enormously popular with conscientious parents--people who want their children not simply to be educated but to have a firm foundation to life.