Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Admiring Maria Montessori...

I first learned about Maria Montessori in 1994 when I moved to Naples, Italy with my husband. I applied to work at a school at the NATO base-the "Anglo-Italian Montessori School". At first I was an aide in a kindergarten class taught by a very nice woman. She was "my" teacher as well as a teacher to the wonderful, bright 5 year old students. Most of the students were Italian learning the English language in the Montessori method of teaching. I learned to love the methods of Maria Montessori. Every thing had a "place" in the classroom. Realistic pictures were used vs. the fictional characters often used in the American preschools. Order, yet freedom was displayed in each classroom. There were very precise rules to follow but the students learned at their own pace. There were centers for practical life (using real glass dishes), language, math and sensory. Push pin activities were started at age 4 to help with their fine motor skills as well as developing their level of concentration. I honestly wish I could say that I have a Montessori home for my 3 children...not quite...but I do use some of the methods for homeschooling my young children. I admire the strength, wisdom and determination of Maria Montessori. She really observed the way in which children learn. These young children are such sponges and will absorb so much through playing and interacting.