Applying her expertise, Dr. Montessori was the first to design an educational system that recognizes that there are certain times that are optimal for a child to develop a particular skill. The purpose of the Montessori Method is to match the appropriate instruction to the individual child’s sensitive period for skill mastery. During what Maria Montessori describes as the child’s absorbent mind, Birth to Age 6.
Designed with the child in mind, the learning environment is beautiful, child-sized, and thoughtfully arranged. This includes a full array of developmentally appropriate activities and uniquely designed materials that intrigue children at each evolving sensitive period. The outdoor environment stimulates interaction with the natural world while planting the seeds for scientific inquiry.
Educational materials and teacher developed activities encourage sensory exploration of the world. They help children develop concentration, observation, and assessment skills. The use of self-correcting materials promotes independent learning, while the sequential order encourages children to reach higher levels of learning. All materials and activities are designed to inspire age-appropriate independence, creating a small society of capable, independent learners working together. During sensitive periods of development, the teacher provides direct instruction. After that, the child begins to work with the materials independently.
Through observation and attention to sensitive periods of development, teachers guide each child through the curriculum by introducing concepts and materials in individual and small-group lessons. Children are then encouraged to practice and refine skills through repetition. Introduction of new challenges occurs when the child is ready to progress to the next phase of learning. As children grow at their own pace, consecutive lessons are presented and additional materials are used to explore ideas more intensely.