Montessori is a philosophy and method of education set out more than 80 years ago by Dr. Maria Montessori. It emphasizes the potential of the child.
Montessori recognizes in the child a natural curiosity and desire to learn; the Montessori materials awaken this desire and channel this curiosity into a learning experience the child enjoys. The Montessori method stresses that children learn and progress at their own pace so that fast learners are not held back and slow learners are not frustrated by their inability to keep up.
The Montessori environment includes a balance between structure and freedom. The concept of freedom carrying responsibility is gradually introduced from the time the child enters school; this, over time, promotes self-discipline. The Montessori child has a wide variety of constructive paths to choose: he/she gains the skills and tools to accomplish his/her choice, and he/she is taught the social values that enable him/her to make enlightened choices.
The teacher prepares the environment, directs the activity, functions as a role model and offers the child an education.
If you are interested in learning more about Montessori education, consider the following reading:
Secret of Childhood – Maria Montessori
A Montessori Revolution in Education – E M Standing
The Montessori Method -Maria Montessori
Montessori: A Modern Approach – Paula Polk Lillard
The Montessori Controversy – John Chattin McNichols
From Childhood to Adolescence – Maria Montessori
Spontaneous Activity in Education – Maria Montessori