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The Montessori Method of education was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori (1870 – 1953) at the turn of the twentieth century in Italy. Dr. Montessori’s educational model is based upon her keen observation of the child. This observation of the child resulted in her development of her theory of the nature of the child upon which her educational practices are based: The Montessori Method. Today Montessori Schools number in the thousands throughout the United States. There are more than one hundred Montessori Teacher Training locations. The Montessori Training Center prepare the teacher in the Montessori philosophy and the Montessori curriculum materials.
Montessori pedagogy focuses upon the whole child: spiritual, psychological, emotional and mental.
Spiritually (not religiously) Montessori likens the child to a nebulae – the begins of a star. Within this nebulae the infinite potentialities of the child exists from the moment of conception. At conception both the physical embryo and the spiritual embryo exist with the uniqueness of each person and the potentialities of that person.
Montessori has a theory of development which she named Planes of Development. The four planes of development are from birth to six, six to twelve, twelve to eighteen, and adulthood. The educational setting is organized around these age groupings.
The first Plane of Development, between birth and six years old, is unique in having an absorbent mind and sensitive periods. The absorbent mind allows the young child to effortlessly take in all aspects of the environment. From birth to about three the child has an unconscious absorbent mind in which the environmental influences are not “filtered” by the child. In the second half, between three and six, the child has a conscious absorbent mind in which selection of environmental influences are made.
Sensitive periods are the second unique aspect of the young child. In particular the young child is sensitive to movement, language and order. The child’s internal mechanisms are ready to develop in the areas of movement, language and order. The environment is called upon to support these sensitive periods of the young child.
The role of the teacher is often referred to as a guide or a director because the “teacher teaches little and observes much”. That is to say that the child is internally motivated to move into the work and understand it. Indeed, the child’s task is to construct his/her concepts. The role of the “teacher” is to observe and based upon the perceived needs offer to the child opportunities in the child’s self creation.
Montessori Teacher Training leads to the Montessori teacher credential, and employment and careers in Montessori education:
- The infant & toddler level
- Early childhood level
- Elementary level
- Middle & high school level
The Montessori Teacher Education Center of the San Francisco Bay Area (MTEC/SFBA) is American Montessori Society (AMS) affiliated & Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) accredited.