Early childhood experts are in agreement that children under the age of six have a once-in-a-lifetime ability to absorb knowledge from their environment through experience…simply put, by living there. This ability to “take-in” their environment is what Dr. Maria Montessori, the developer of this unique learning approach, called “the absorbent mind.” Because of the absorbent mind, preschool children do not need direct instruction in order to learn. The Montessori preschool classroom takes full advantage of this ability by providing opportunities to move, touch, manipulate, and discover without unnecessary interference from an adult. Children in authentic Montessori programs learn to work independently, fueled with their own initiative, building concentration and self-discipline.
The Montessori Method for the Critical Preschool Years
The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy. - Maria Montessori
The Montessori primary classroom is designed to meet the developing needs of children ages three to six years old. The mixed-age classroom is often called “The Children’s House” due to the cozy, home-like setting that respects and protects the child’s natural rhythm of life.
The calm, orderly, and beautiful classrooms are filled with interesting materials and activities that are organized in four areas of learning: practical life, sensorial, mathematics and language. Extensions to the curriculum may include art, music, science, geography and foreign language.
This system of learning supports learning without interference with the goal of guiding the child to reach full potential physically, intellectually, and spiritually.
The educator should ascertain most minutely what are the circumstances and conditions – inside and outside the child – most favorable to the opening up of the child’s soul to supernatural influences, to the vigorous and lasting co-operation with the grace of God. - from The Child in the Church by Dr. Maria Montessori