About The Montessori Approach
Today Montessori school across the globe follow the same philosophy ‘follow the child’, every child is unique and there is no ‘one size fits’ all to their education’.
Denys Lyne (founder of LyneByLyne) is a passionate Montessorian and has been working in Montessori schools since 2000. She has written her own training course for Montessori Primary Education and developed a Primary Montessori Curriculum that maps with National Curriculum Standards. Having completed Post Graduate training in Dyslexia and related Specific Learning Difficulties, she has gone on to develop intervention programmes using the Montessori approach and materials.
In 1919 training courses in the Montessori method started in London.
Montessori’s view of the nature of the child, on which the Montessori method is based, is that children should not be held back by forced, rigid curricula (plans of study) or classes. Work, she believed, is its own reward to the child, and there is no necessity for other rewards. Self-discipline (controlling oneself) emerges out of the freedom of the learning environment.
Montessori’s method was so far ahead of its time that it was at odds with other major twentieth-century trends, because of this it was only used by a few private schools. In the early 1950s, there was a renewed interest in her methodology and Montessori schools were established all over the world. Her works have been translated into at least twenty languages, and training schools for Montessori teachers have been established in several nations.
In 1906 the Italian government put Montessori in charge of a state-supported school in a poverty-stricken area of Rome, with sixty children aged three to six. Because of her success with neuro-diverse children she decided to try the same educational methods with neuro-typical children.
She used what she termed a “prepared environment” to provide an atmosphere for learning that is appropriate for the age and stage of development of the child. The basic features of the method , which are still used today, are based on the idea that the hand is the pathway to the brain. By introducing the child to specially designed materials that enable the ‘refinement of the senses’ they were able to learn more effectively.
In 1898 she was appointed director of the State Orthophrenic School in Rome, whose function was to care for the “hopelessly deficient” and “idiot” children of the city (labels we would not dream of assigning to our children today!) She enjoyed tremendous success in teaching the children herself.
She used the time, through careful observation, to refine and apply her unique methods and train other teachers to work with the children. Teachers were encouraged to stand back and “follow the child”—that is, to let the child’s natural interests take the lead. This method enabled some of the children to achieve the same results on state exams as neuro-typical schoolchildren.
In 1890 Maria Montessori enrolled at the University of Rome to study physics, maths and natural sciences, receiving her diploma two years later. This enabled her to enter the Faculty of Medicine, and she became the first woman in Italy to receive a medical degree.
Montessori’s first appointment was as an assistant doctor in the psychiatric clinic of the University of Rome. Here she had her first contact with neuro-diverse children. She became convinced that these children would respond positively to a different teaching method as opposed to just medical intervention.