Born Maria Montessori Chiaraville, Italy on May thirty-first eighteen seventy. She came into a very well educated Catholic family. Her mother was also very educated along with her father who was once a in the military but found his calling as a financial advisor in the tobacco company. Maria’s father was to be seen as a very traditional but firm peremptory man, while her mother had her own down to earth ideas when she was part of liberating Italy. It as Maria’s mother that supported her in all here endeavors. Her family moved to Rome so Maria could better her education and her father could follow his company.
She attended a mostly all boy technical school. Where she got her degree to be in engineering, spite what her father wanted. But after attending high school she studied to become a engineer but veered from that into the medical field. But due to her father disliking her university studies could be seen as a bit strained. But Maria was strong and overcome difficulties to even study about the human body. At times she had to have special sessions to perform autopsies because it was frowned down on that women were not to study or perform autopsies in front of men.
But Maria held onto her dream and became the first female physician in 1896 (Hainstock,1997). Maria first came in contact with children when she had to attend a school for special needs children. As she studied these children she convinced herself into realizing that the kids issues were not medical but educational: by that she could see that if the children were made more stimulated the children were more acceptable to the learning process. Maria wanted more education so went back to school to study anthropology, psychology. So in 1904 Maria gained the position of Lecturer in Pedagogical
Anthropology. While studying Maria fell in love with a colleague that she worked with, she had one child a son. She sent her son to live with a foster family, so she would not be shunned at because she was a unwed and single parent at that time. Even after her death her son new his mother well and knew that he was in safe family ways and that she did what she had to do at that time, and provide her son with a great life. Dr. Maria Montessori became a pivotal standard when it came to early childhood education. Her theory that all children are highly motivated to learn.
They are like sponges the more information they receive the more they will take what is said and learn from it easily and naturally. Maria felt that formation of life begins at birth and until young adulthood. She felt that as a human infant we are born incomplete person and it is up to the child to complete the transformation (Lillard & Jessen 2003). Montessori studied at the children asylums she learned that a child’s development was developed through the senses or “sensorial exploration” and hand to brain coordination (Lillard,1996 Lillard & Jessen, 2003).
She felt that children needed to learn from their senses of touch, feel, smell, and seeing and hearing. Montessori used stages to help children guide themselves through adulthood: the first stage was the Period of Transformation. This usually started from age zero to age six years. In the stage children we somewhat self centered to eve a bit egotistical at time s that lead these children to know the ways of nature which gave them children the drive and the core of self development. This is also where the sponge or absorption of language,
These sessions were referred to as the Sensitive Period. At this time it shows that children work on only one area of education while ignoring the other areas. At the age of zero to three a child has a secondary division of the Unconscious Absorbent Mind, at this stage the child is absorbing all he or she can with the environment around him/her, using what they learn to gain a grasp on the their future. (Standing,1957). The second sub division is when the Conscious Absorbent Mind this is between the ages of three to six year olds.
This stage is used from taking what the child leaned from the Unconscious Absorbent Mind and using it to understand and placing what he/she learned into categories that well be used later in the learning process. The Sensitive Period and Absorbent mind work together to mold a child’s personality. This shows the “sensorial explorers” so it comes the focus to become oneself. Montessori called these the beginnings years for a child first recollection into a child development. Maria believed that a child’s environment was built around a child’s needs and wants in order for the child to be able to pass through each stage comfortably.
Montessori used Auto Education along with didactic material, individual or on one on one teaching to give the child individualism in teaching in a prepared environment. Within the Montessori Auto-Education she built this theory on that a child learn though what they experience throughout the environment . This can be seen though the sensory, education and muscular coordination using Montessori didactic materials. These supped the use of one’s language development(Orem, 1971). This also gave the child the development of right and wrong.
This was taught by showing the child two different materials that is not in any way represented of each other, giving the child a connection to the right and wrong. Montessori control of error gave children a constant time of playing while the child had to keep his or her pace not being designated into a certain time to quit the activity so the child could learn at his or her on speed. This showed teachers that a child could learn and do things on their own pace without being told what to do, they took it upon themselves to teach themselves.
The next concept was Individual Education, giving the child his or her own space and interests, giving the children the drive to always want more. But learn with space and freedom, individualism while still giving the respect and consideration to the other kids. So not engaging or interfering in other children’s work. Giving a child the space and opportunity to learn about the environment around then with hands on techniques or through movement. This gives the child the use of hand eye coordination along with motor skills development.
Montessori believes that children learn from experiences through learning when it is their choice other than being forced into learning (Orem, 1971). One more of Montessori’s concepts was the one on Independence and Prepared Environment. This was where individuals worked in a block of time without being interrupted . It gave the child the since of peace and accomplishment. But always knowing that others were around to help out. The individual time that child worked alone was his or hers, so that whatever that child or individual was doing was still being observed to a degree but also left alone to tend to the matter at hand.
Montessori also felt that breaking children up into groups or sections gave a more one on one chance the teacher and other kids. Plus it gave them the chance to come into contact or meshing with the older students and together they could learn from each other. This gave the prestige of mentoring the younger kids with a older child. The older child got to learn patients, cooperation and mentoring which was great for both kids. Maria Montessori theory brought her great strides to the education of many children from yesteryear to today, but it was also criticized by other too.
Some researchers look at the way Montessori teaches and says that there is way too much leniency, in the supervision of the children in the classroom, which in return can turn the children into egomaniacs. Her teaching credentials with researchers saying that her books were expensive and not within reach for the everyday family to teach their child (Faryadi, 2007). Some see her methods and theory are geared only towards lower class families, or for families that had a lower economic status. They also felt that the kids are being put into a hostile and not caring environment where they is not structure of adult supervision.
Montessori most well known critic was William Head Kilpatrick. A teacher in his own time, his approach to teaching became the Project Method of Education. This method closely resembled Montessori’s ways too. This was where the children learned without the use of a teacher yes, no teacher. He looked at teaching education is like to creating a group of children to take control of work with each other without the confrontations, which could have the children become more independently driven as a single learners.
Kilpatrick went back to school and once he did that he had a different approach to education and more progressive outlook. When Montessori’s popularity hit the United States, Kilpatrick hired lectures to critique that teaching of Montessori. HE saw her way of teaching was becoming way to lax in the way of play too (Shortridge, 2007). He shunned her for the lack her for the lack of discipline, her theories were way to narrow and the way she ran her school was ways to lenient to his liking. With all this Montessori credibility was diminished.
Montessori was becoming more criticized by American schools and some even stopped teaching the Montessori way. But to this day there are still schools that practice or teach the Montessori method and with the theory Maria Montessori lives by to this day. * I am proud to say that I was welcomed into one of the Montessori schools here in my town. I got to observe the methods and teaching for a day. I was so humbled and honored to be in the presents of such wonderful little kids. got to play and talk to them about their school, one little girl Jenny said ” I love my school and I learn allot each day”.
Jenny was so courteous and so sweet. She showed me around the classroom and the different stations too. It was so rewarding to see this little girl guide me through her classroom not her teacher. Even though her teacher was there it was just a great day spent observing a Maria Montessori class in my town. I relate to Montessori theory, because I feel that children deserve to learn in a classroom that envelops the well being and knowledge that the kids provide along with what I can teach them as the year goes on.
My overall teaching would abide by the standards that my state has and make my classroom not only my classroom but the kids that I teach also. Everyone would be welcomed and I would always want to learn from my kids and become not only their teacher but a friend to them. My life and career will revolve around not only my kids but also the kids that I hold dear to me as my class. Each day that passes will bring new horizons for all of us. I will look back on what Maria Montessori has tough me through all the ligature that I have read over the last free weeks.
There were many great theorists in the field of Early Childhood Education but I think I have found a new profound outlook on the whole process of teaching and learning. Thanks to a woman like Maria Montessori that started out as a physician and then turned her ideas and teaching into a theory that to this day some schools hold dear. In my future class I would make everyday a learning experience with a standard to the highest, along with the drive and determination to always want to come back and learn more as the days and months pass on.