The Montessori method was evolved by Maria Montessori, Italy's first female doctor, and is in use worldwide. In a Montessori classroom the children choose their activities freely in a prepared developmental and learning environment. The materials used are designed to encourage development of the senses and are largely self-corrective. The "Exercises of Practical Life" cover care of the person, care of the environment, social interaction and control of movement. These exercises are enjoyed by the children and lead to their independence.
The teacher prepares and maintains the environment, brings each child individually into touch with it, encourages free choice of activities, allows their repetition and is on the alert, ready to take each child one step further in a graduated system of development and learning. It is recognized that each child goes through his/her own "sensitive periods" for every phase of development.
Order and respect for the rights of others are of great importance. Materials are replaced on the shelves by their users, in good condition "for the next person". Children are treated with great courtesy, the emphasis being on teaching good manners through example.
Creativity is encouraged. Art materials are abundantly provided and the children are shown how to use the tools. They are then free to create their own works of art. Group activities are fun, as are special projects. Both stimulate language development. Dr. Montessori felt that children growing in such an environment, loving their work, pleasing themselves with it, yet always controlled by a due respect for the rights of others, would grow up to be happy individuals, agents for a better, more peaceful world. We agree!