If you’re considering Montessori elementary school, you probably already have a general idea of how the Montessori method works, and why it’s beneficial for children. What you may not realize is that this approach is not new, but rather something that has been around for over a century, far longer than most child-centered approaches in use today.
Maria Montessori, the creator of the Montessori method, was ahead of her time not only in her child-centered theory of education, but also in her own education and career. Born in 1870 in Italy, Maria was raised by parents who valued education, and from the time she was a child, Maria challenged the commonly held notions of the day. She was well educated, well read, and studied both engineering and medicine, becoming the first female doctor in Italy. It was through her practice, which focused on psychiatry, that she first began to formulate her theories on child development and education, eventually culminating in the development of her Montessori method.
The first Montessori elementary school was the Casa dei Bambini, or the Children’s House, which Maria opened in 1907. From that point, her methods became so popular that she spoke about them at Carnegie Hall just a few years later in 1915. Montessori elementary schools began opening all over the US.
Follow the Child
The Montessori method was groundbreaking because it advocated “following the child,” allowing the child to learn independently – a notion that was completely unlike any other educational method used at the time. Although the number of Montessori elementary schools waned and the approach all but disappeared for a couple of decades, Montessori became popular again in the 1960s, and has maintained a steadily growing presence in the field of early childhood education ever since.
Unfortunately, not every school bearing her name “follows the child” as Maria Montessori recommended. Any school, even those that don’t adhere to the original Montessori method, can use the name. While researching Montessori schools, you will find that schools fit in different places on the “Montessori spectrum.” To see the difference that an authentic Montessori elementary school can make in your child, please contact us today to schedule a tour of our Fremont school.