Read more about Maria Montessori and her educational method:
The following websites are for suppliers of Montessori materials; they also offer several articles on Montessori philosophy:
This blog shares Montessori-based parenting articles and advice:
Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work (by E.M. Standing)
The Absorbent Mind (by Maria Montessori)
The Montessori philosophy began in Rome in 1907; named after Maria Montessori, this model of education survives today because of Dr. Montessori's dedication to scientific observation of human development. Throughout her life Dr. Montessori achieved international renown as Italy’s first female physician, as a three-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, and for the revolutionary educational method she developed and helped disseminate across the globe.
Her philosophy embraces a broad vision of education as an "aid to life."
The Montessori prepared environment provides a safe space for children to activate their inherent love of learning through meaningful work. The purpose of a Montessori school is to develop independent, responsible humans capable of leading productive, harmonious lives. The Montessori dream is for every child to be empowered to follow his or her personal goals & contribute meaningfully to society as a whole.
The Montessori philosophy is also based on the principle that children naturally develop in stages, called planes of development. The first plane is from birth through age six, during which period children are sensorial explorers and the mind is omnivorously absorbent. The second plane is from ages six to twelve, during which period children are imaginative learners and their intellectual curiosity is more intentional. During the third plane (ages twelve to eighteen) students evolve again, into pre-adults focused on their impending entrance into larger society.
The primary level is planned with the sensorial learner in mind. All lessons in this environment have an element of manipulation of materials. In the elementary level, lessons are designed to fire the imagination. The children are given keys to the world and encouraged to explore further, especially in their areas of interest. In the adolescent community students commit to practical study and work, alongside trusted mentors and experts.
With thoughtful guidance at each stage, the children pace their work so they are productive and respectful toward themselves, others, and their environment. The adults in a Montessori school are trained to link students to the environment through gentle, consistent support and carefully-planned presentations.