New Paradigm by Dr. Montessori


Never before had adults trusted children to teach themselves, even under the guidance of an observant, knowledgeable adult. In 1907 in an apartment building in the slums of Rome, Dr. Montessori’s first school/day care began with 60 “normal” children, ages 2-7 years. Before the school opened at the owner’s request, the children had wandered about the apartment complex alone during the day, defacing the walls and grounds. She set up a classroom with low, light-weight chairs and tables, as well as cupboards for her many teaching materials. Next she began giving the children basic lessons about life through real objects, such as small, beautiful basin, pitcher, and soap for washing their hands. The children were shown how to prepare food for their own lunch. Rather than writing on the walls and sidewalks, the children were shown how to draw shapes with geometric frames and insets in order to satisfy their hunger for writing. Soon she made other materials, such as sandpaper letters for tracing, and saying the sound of the letter. The children began to read at the age of four, and once again, the world took notice of Dr. Maria Montessori. Her motto, “Whatever a child is able to do for himself, he should be allowed to do,” revealed to visitors a surprising but inevitable discovery: the children believed that they could accomplish almost anything!