The Montessori Method is a system of education based on the beliefs of Maria Montessori. The most critical components of her method include the prepared environment and the teacher. The Montessori classroom is usually divided into four areas: practical living, sensorial, math, and language. Each area contains beautifully crafted, authentic materials designed for independent use by the child in order to build skills in each of these areas, as well as to develop dispositions including self-direction, freedom, and order. Many Montessori materials are self-correcting, clearly indicating if they are being used successfully. The teacher's role is to carefully observe the children and introduce activities and modify the environment in order to support each child's exploration and growth. The Montessori Method has had a profound impact on the field of early childhood education both in terms of the materials and activities Maria Montessori developed and her approach to teacher observation and planning.
See also: PRESCHOOL
Lillard, Paula. Montessori: A Modern Approach. New York: Schocken Books, 1972.
Martha J. Buell
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