Developed around the turn of the century by Maria Montessori, Italy's first female physician, the Montessori method consists of a specialized teaching style and expertly designed materials that combine to unlock each child's natural motivation to learn.
Unlike most traditional classrooms, in which teachers impose lessons upon a group of children organized by age, Montessori creates an environment in which the teacher plays the role of facilitator as each child satisfies his or her own inherent urge to learn and develop. Further, as Montessori does not segregate children by age, older children share their skills and knowledge with younger ones. This not only acts as an important motivator, as the younger ones emulate their more advanced peers. It also serves to develop crucial social skills as well.
In short, Montessori teaches children how to learn. What is more, it does so at a critical age -- two through six years -- when their receptivity to new concepts is most keen and core aspects of their personalities are being formed. Through Montessori they discover that the will, ability and skills to learn are inside each of them rather than provided externally. And in so doing, it helps provide a foundation of self confidence and esteem that can serve them for the rest of their lives.
"Education begins at birth"
Dr. Maria Montessori