Dr. Maria Tecla Artemisia Montessori, more commonly known as Maria Montessori, was an Italian physician and educator who is still celebrated in the mathematics world today for the philosophy of education that bears her name, the Montessori Method.
Born August 31, 1870, in Italy, Montessori showed amazing intellectual prowess and broke through many barriers that would typically constrict a woman (and her subsequent career options) at the time. Undeterred, following elementary school at the age of 13, Maria enrolled in a technical secondary school where she studied mathematics, natural science, geography, and physics. Post-graduation she successfully matriculated in medical school after winning a series of scholarships, and in 1896 she became one of the first female doctors in Italy.
Early in her medical career, Dr. Montessori worked with children in clinics and asylums; at the time, children who were developmentally slower than average or those with a ‘perceived’ mental disorder were relegated to these institutions. Through interactions with these children, Dr. Montessori observed a lack of sensorial and fine motor stimulation. Dr Montessori hypothesized that the deprivation of stimuli was contributing to their lack of progress. After the introduction of materials such as puzzles and hands-on manipulatives, they were observed to exhibit calm, peaceful behaviour and periods of deep concentration.
Over the next four years, Montessori began developing her own educational philosophy and pedagogy, and in 1900 she became the co-director of the Scuola Magistrale Ortofrenica, a school for training teachers in educating mentally disabled children. It was not until 1912 that her educational philosophy became known world-wide, but in the interim twelve years, something amazing happened.
By 1914, One hundred eighty-seven English-language articles and books had been written about the Montessori Method, and Montessori herself focused on creating materials and methods for children ages 7 – 11 for her follow up book titled The Advanced Montessori Method.
In addition to Piaget, Montessori’s pedagogical philosophy is evident throughout ORIGO Education’s core program, Stepping Stones, especially in their early learning Pre-K program.
- ORIGO believes learning is a social process and requires language and discourse. Montessori believed that children need to make their own choices and be able to explore choices.
- ORIGO believes children learn through everyday language and objects before moving onto symbolic representations. Montessori believed children learned most from the world around them. Another reason why ORIGO uses Big Cubes and Cards to merge sensory play with basic math concepts. (check out this lesson from our Pre-K program for an idea: Pretend Play)
- ORIGO believes in helping teachers prepare for their lesson with clear teacher facing materials. Montessori believed in the organized environment, and ORIGO directly relates.
- ORIGO believes that children have a natural love for learning, and bases products on assisting students with critical thinking and problem solving capabilities so they take ownership of their successes. Montessori believed that with the right inspiration, children can construct their own learning.
ORIGO Education know that students who develop strong thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills grow into productive, innovative members of society and we believe Dr. Maria Montessori would share our values.