Montessori Philosophy

Written by Tara Peris
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At its core, the Montessori philosophy stems from both educational theory and clinical observation. Although it has evolved over time, its central tenets remain the same, emphasizing environmental structure as critical to effective learning. Notably, the past two decades have brought considerable empirical support for the Montessori method, shifting it from an abstract theoretical paradigm to a practical, viable educational approach.

The Montessori philosophy was borne out of Dr. Montessori's formal training in anthropology as well as her years of direct interaction with children. Blessed with sharp clinical insight, Dr. Montessori formed several hypotheses about how and why children learn. At the heart of these hypotheses was a belief in the importance of the academic and social environment.

Understanding the Montessori Philosophy

Dr. Montessori believed that children are like sponges, eager to soak up information from their surroundings. Thus, she placed great importance on developing stimulating classroom environments that exposed children to continuous opportunities for learning and growth. Her philosophy overlaps with key principles of social learning theory and a number of other well regarded schools of thought.

However, the Montessori philosophy goes beyond simply stressing the importance of the environment. It also suggests that hands-on interaction (as opposed to passive listening)is the best way for children to learn. As a growing body of scientific research begins to support this idea, parents and educators alike are beginning to reconsider the value of Montessori schooling.

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